At least 17 tourists have been wounded after a roadside bomb exploded near Egypt’s famous Giza Pyramids.
An explosive device went off as a tourist bus carrying 25 South African citizens was being driven outside the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum, next to the famed pyramids.
Nile News TV reported that seven South African tourists and 10 Egyptian civilians were injured in the blast on Sunday (local time).
At least five people were “slightly injured by shards of the broken glass of the bus”, an unnamed security source said. There were no reports of deaths.
Egypt’s Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat said the explosion was relatively minor.
“Of the 28 passengers on the bus we can confirm some minor injuries with three being treated at the hospital as a precaution,” she tweeted.
The window of a private car with four people inside was also shattered by the blast, according to the security source. It was not immediately clear if any of them were injured.
A car at the site where a bomb went off. Photo: Getty
Security forces cordoned off the site of the explosion and the wounded were taken to a nearby hospital.
A witness, Mohamed el-Mandouh, told Reuters he heard a “very loud explosion” while sitting in traffic near the site of the blast, which is close to the capital Cairo.
Eyewitness Mona Zeidan said the bus seemed to have remained intact after the explosion.
“They were all minor injuries and nothing serious,” Ms Zeidan told CNN, adding that “security was inspecting the bus”.
Pictures and video posted on social media showed a bus with some of its windows blown out or shattered, and debris in the road next to a low wall with a hole in it.
Tourist bus has been targeted by an IED near the new Egyptian museum in the area of the Giza Pyramids…#Egypt pic.twitter.com/Eobvt3Gz22— Yitz (@Greenslime_) May 19, 2019
— Yitz (@Greenslime_) May 19, 2019
In a statement issued shortly after the explosion, South Africa’s government said the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, had been informed about the incident.
“Initial media reports suggest that South Africans might be among the injured,” the statement said.
“The 24-hour operational center has been activated and South Africa’s Ambassador Vusi Mavimbela and his team in Egypt are engaging with authorities including visiting hospitals to verify the information.”
VIDEO: The aftermath of bomb attack on a tourist bus in #Egypt. pic.twitter.com/WWzJQgJcMJ— Sam Pye (@freddie1999) May 19, 2019
— خالد اسكيف (@khalediskef) May 19, 2019
Egypt has battled Islamic militants for years in the Sinai Peninsula in an insurgency that has occasionally spilled over to the mainland, hitting minority Christians or tourists.
The attack comes as Egypt’s vital tourism industry is showing signs of recovery after years in the doldrums because of the political turmoil and violence that followed a 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Hosni Mubarak.
In December, three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide were killed and at least 10 others injured when a roadside bomb hit their tour bus less than 4 kilometres from the Giza pyramids.