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South Africans caught in Giza blast safely back home

Three other South Africans injured in the blast remain in hospital in Egypt.

A picture taken on 19 May 2019, shows a bus damaged during a bomb blast near Egypt's famed Giza pyramids. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The 25 South African tourists caught up in a bus explosion in Egypt have landed at the OR Tambo International Airport.

They were part of a group of tourists who were on board the vehicle when it was targeted on Sunday near the Grand Egyptian Museum and not far from the pyramids in Giza.

Three other South Africans injured in the blast remain in hospital.

The International Relations and Cooperation Departmentment's Ndhivuwo Mabaya: "The three who remain in Egypt will be looked after by the ambassador and his team. Since the incident yesterday, he has visited them in hospital. We, on this side, we have been engaging with the families to make sure that all the logistics are in place."

Security and judicial sources said a rudimentary device containing nails and pieces of metal had been detonated remotely on the perimeter of the Grand Egyptian Museum, not far from the site of a roadside blast that hit another tourist bus in December.

The museum is due to open next year as the new home for some of the country’s top antiquities on a site adjoining the world-famous Giza pyramids. It is part of an effort to boost tourism, a key source of foreign revenue for Egypt.

The sector has been recovering after tourist numbers dropped in the wake of a 2011 uprising and the 2015 bombing of a Russian passenger jet.

There was no damage to the museum from the blast, which happened 50 metres from its outer fence and more than 400 metres from the museum building, the Antiquities Ministry said in a statement.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Egyptian security forces are waging a counterinsurgency campaign against Islamist militants, some with links to Islamic State, that is focused in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.

Attacks outside Sinai have become relatively rare, though there have been several security incidents in recent months in Giza, across the Nile from central Cairo.

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.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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