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Bomb wrecks Sinai pilgrimage bus

21 February 2014


Wreckage: the South Koreans' wrecked tour bus after the explosion

Wreckage: the South Koreans' wrecked tour bus after the explosion

AT LEAST four people have died in a bomb attack in Sinai, in Egypt, which targeted South Korean Christians visiting biblical sites for their church's 60th anniversary.

The dead included three Koreans and their Egyptian driver. Up to 14 others were injured. The bus was carrying more than 30 parishioners from Jincheon Jungang Presbyterian Church, an Egyptian Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

The attack heightened fears that Islamic extremists, who have be-come more active in the Sinai Peninsula since the overthrow of the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, are now picking out foreign tourists for terrorist attacks.

A minister at the Korean church, Choe Gyu-seob, said that the congregation had been saving fora long time to make the 12-daytrip.

The party left Korea last Monday, and were to visit Turkey, Egypt, and Israel.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported the daughter of one victim as saying: "My mother was a devout Christian. I don't know how such a thing could happen. I don't know how to react to this."

Other church members cried as they sat in a car in front of the church after hearing the news. One man in his fifties said: "We never imagined such a thing could happen. We are shocked and miserable."

Egyptian security officials said that the bus was travelling from a tour of the ancient Greek Orthodox St Catherine's Monastery towards the crossing into Israel at the border town of Taba.

As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the blast, believed to be either a car or roadside bomb. Officials said, however, that it bore the hallmarks of previous attacks attributed to al-Qaeda-linked militant groups.

The Egyptian President's office called the attack a "despicable act of cowardice", and vowed to bring the culprits to justice.


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