An attempt is made to share the truth regarding issues concerning Israel and her right to exist as a Jewish nation. This blog has expanded to present information about radical Islam and its potential impact upon Israel and the West. Yes, I do mix in a bit of opinion from time to time.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Terror on the border: 4 dead in Sinai tourist bus bombing
Three South Korean tourists and Egyptian bus
driver killed in explosion on bus close to Taba border crossing •
Radical Salafi group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis claims responsibility.
Smoke rises from a tourist
bus that was bombed in Taba on Sunday
Photo credit: Reuters
Israel got a reminder of the shaky security
situation on its southern border on Sunday afternoon, when bomb attack
on a tourist bus on the Egyptian side of the Taba crossing killed at
least four people and wounded over 20.
The attack happened at
2:05 p.m., only a few hundred meters from the Israeli border. An
explosive device went off in the front part of a bus carrying more than
30 foreign tourists from Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai
Peninsula to the border with Israel.
Camera: Newsenders, Reuters Three
South Korean tourists were killed, as was the Egyptian bus driver. An
Egyptian military official said the bus was blown up by a bomb, although
there were other reports that the bus also came under gunfire. In the
wake of the attack, the Egyptian military increased patrols in Sinai and
launched a manhunt for the attackers.
The radical Salafi group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis,
which was behind recent rocket attacks on Eilat, claimed responsibility
for the bombing. Egyptian officials fear that Sunday's attack indicates
a shift in the organization's terror strategy, which thus far had
focused on striking Egyptian military targets or firing rockets at
Israel, leaving Egypt's tourism industry unscathed.
Sunday's bombing was the first terror attack
against tourists in Egypt since former President Mohammed Morsi was
forced out of power last summer. The last major terrorist attack in
Sinai took place in 2006, when a bombing in Dahab left 23 dead.
Sunday's bombing took place some 250 meters
from the border with Israel, and people inside Israel heard the
explosion. Nadia, an owner of the Tulip Hotel, some 3 kilometers (2
miles) from the border, said she "heard a strong blast and understood
right away that it wasn't a rocket."
"I went to the crossing and saw a bus [that was] black with smoke," she told Israel Hayom.
"Ambulances were there, picking up the
wounded. It's sad that it happened to tourists. The Christians follow a
fixed path -- they land in Cairo, go to Saint Catherine's Monastery, and
from there to Israel to visit the holy sites."
Yoseftal Medical Center employee Stella was in
a staff meeting at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences
near the border when she heard the explosion. "We'd just gotten out of
the car and heard the huge blast. We understood right away that it
wasn't a rocket because the noise was different, much stronger," she
Immediately after the bombing, Israeli
ambulances rushed to the border and stood at the ready for over four
hours, but according to reports in the Egyptian media, Egypt chose not
to accept Israeli help. The wounded were evacuated by a much longer
route to hospitals in Dahab and Sharm el-Sheikh.
Meanwhile, following the attack, Israel upped
its level of alert, closing the border crossing to cars and pedestrian
traffic. Israeli tourists in Sinai who wanted to return home were
allowed to do so quickly, although dozens chose to remain.
Israeli Navy ships in the area were ordered to
increase manpower, and IDF soldiers were scrambled to the border
crossing and the nearby area.
On Monday, South Korea's foreign ministry issued a condemnation of the terror attack.
"Our government cannot repress our anger and
astonishment over [the attack]," said South Korean Foreign Ministry
spokesman Cho Tai-young. "We strongly condemn it."
The tourists were Christians from the same church, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said.
The Jincheon Central Presbyterian Church,
located in Jincheon, about 98 kilometers (61 miles) south of Seoul, said
it had sent off its church members last week on a 12-day, three-country
pilgrimage to Turkey, Egypt and Israel.