Egyptian authorities attempt to look tough following tourist killings

Egyptian authorities attempt to look tough following tourist killings
Egypt has claimed that security raids in the country have killed at least 40 suspected militants.
3 min read
29 December, 2018
Egyptian security forces have launched a wave of arrests in Egypt [Getty]
Egypt's regime attempted to look tough on Saturday, following the killing of three Vietnamese tourists and a guide close to Giza's pyramids a day earlier.

Cairo announced a series of raids on suspected militant hideouts across the country on Saturday, releasing photos showing the corpses of alleged fighters next to rifles and shotguns.

Egypt's interior ministry claimed that 40 "fighters" were killed in the raids in Giza and the Suez, according to the MENA news agency, after a roadside bombing targeted a tour bus on Friday.

Troops killed 30 suspected militants at hideouts in Giza, with the interior ministry claiming "terrorist elements" in the Cairo suburb were planning further attacks on tourists.

Another ten alleged fighters were killed in raids in the northern Sinai, where an insurgency by an Islamic State group affiliate has severely damaged tourism in the area.

The interior ministry did not say whether the raids were related to the tourist bus bombing, but Cairo appears to be rattled by the first attack targeting foreign visitors in more than a year.

Three Vietnamese tourists and a tour guide were killed, and at least 12 injured, when an improvised bomb targeted their bus travelling to the Giza pyramids on Friday.

Egypt's Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly has attempted to blame the security lapse on the driver of the tour bus, saying he had not stuck to a planned route - something denied by the driver. 

Read also: Giza pyramids blast kills four, as Egypt prime minister attempts to deflect blame

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly visited the injured at a Cairo hospital and announced that a tour guide had died from his wounds, bringing the death toll to four.   

He warned media against "amplifying" the incident, claiming "no country in the world can guarantee that its 100 percent safe".

"It's possible at times that an individual incident takes place here or there," he told journalists.

"We have to know that it's possible that it would be repeated in the future."

Egypt has been hit hard by militancy following the 2011 revolution with the country's tourism industry in sharp decline since continued political unrest.

Militancy has become widespread, particularly in the Sinai province, where an Islamic State group affiliate are active, with the Egyptian military launching an offensive on the area earlier this year.

A bombing of a Russia charter plane over the Suez in 2015 killed 224 passengers and crew, which was claimed by IS.

The latest attack will be seen as another blow to the credentials of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who has claimed that his strong rule has brought stability to the country.

Sisi overthrew Egypt's first democratically-elected government in 2013, launching a wave of arrests of Islamist and secular activists and clamping down on free speech since then.

Despite the clampdown, Egypt has seen continued militancy, with attacks targeting security forces, tourists and the country's Christian minority.