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Blast hits tourist bus in Sinai, killing 4

Feb. 16, 2014 3:38 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 17, 2014 11:29 P.M.)
TABA, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Four civilians were killed on Sunday and 29 others were injured after a roadside bomb was detonated targeting a bus carrying civilians near the Taba checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula close to the border with Israel, medical sources said.

Sinai ambulance services director Khalid Abu Hashem told Ma'an that two South Korean civilians, an Egyptian tour guide, and an Egyptian bus driver were killed while 29 others were injured as a result of the attack.

He added that the blast occurred as a tourist bus was passing the site where a bomb had been timed to detonate.

Health ministry spokesman Ahmed Kamel told AFP that four people were killed in the explosion and 13 were injured.

An Egyptian military official said that the explosion occurred 50 meters from the Hilton Hotel in Taba, and was detonated remotely from a mobile phone.

The official said that at the time of the explosion the bus was carrying 33 tourists, an Egyptian driver, and an Egyptian tour guide.

The bus was coming from Cairo after having passed through Saint Catherine, and was on its way to Taba prior to continuing on to the southern resort city of Eilat in Israel, he added.

The official accused the Wahhabi militant group of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis of involvement in the blast in Taba, adding that recently they had failed to carry out attacks in Sinai due to the heavy security measures.

An Egyptian security source told Ma'an that helicopters were preparing to take the injured to Cairo hospitals.

A Ma'an reporter said that security forces had arrived at the scene, and had closed the entrances and exits of the city.

A spokesman for the Israeli ambulance services said that Israeli ambulances had headed to the border area following the blast to assist in evacuating the injured.

The Sinai peninsula has been wracked by rising instability and almost daily attacks since a July 3 coup by the Egyptian military which unseated then-president Mohammad Morsi.

The attacks have been claimed by Wahhabi militant groups including Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, who have taken advantage of the lawlessness in the region to target government forces and civilian targets across Egypt.
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