02/18/2014, 00.00
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Jihadist group claims Taba attack on Korean pilgrims

Today the funeral of Coptic Orthodox Egyptian driver who died along with three Koreans. The suicide bomber was a young man of about 21. The Catholic Church close to the victims, condemns the blind violence. Violence targets tourism industry, but also Vladimir Putin’s support of Al Sisi.

Cairo (AsiaNews ) - The jihadist group Ansar al- Beit Maqdess has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack two days ago in the Sinai against a bus carrying s Koreans pilgrim that left four dead and 14 wounded. The Egyptian Catholic Church has sent a message of condolence for all those killed and expressing closeness to the injured.

In a statement published online, the group praises "one of the Beit al- Maqdess heroes" who carried out the attack. The group, based in the Sinai says it is linked to Al Qaeda and is at the forefront in major attacks against police and army in recent months, which have multiplied since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and the outlawing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

According to the group, the February 16 attack marked a new phase in the war against the new government, targeting "economic interests", tied to tourism.

It is the first time in 10 years that a group of tourists have been targeted in an attack in Egypt , although bombings and massacres have occurred under all the presidents and governments.

In this case, the bus that was hit was carrying a group of 31 Korean Christian pilgrims, all from Jincheon county, who were on a tour that included Turkey, Egypt and Israel. The police established that the terrorist - 21 years of age or more - got on the bus and detonated an explosive belt that must have weighed about 5-10 kg.  Human remains found on the site are being identified.

The bus was returning from the monastery of St. Catherine and was about to pass from Taba to Israel when the attack occurred. The four dead were the two Korean guides, a pilgrim and the driver an Egyptian Coptic Christian Orthodox named Sami, whose funeral will be held today.

The Egyptian Catholic Church has issued a message of condolence for the victims of the attack. "We pray for those who died - said Fr . Rafic Greiche , the spokesman - and for the wounded. But we also want to vigorously condemn this mindless violence".

The attack took place on the very day that a new case against Mohamed Morsi began, this time accused of having collaborated in similar attacks with Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese militants.

The new round of violence seems to want to threaten to the candidacy for president of Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi who last week was in Moscow, where he obtained the support of Vladimir Putin. But it is especially a threat to all foreigners not to support the new Egyptian government, by undermining one of the richest assets of the national economy; tourism.



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