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South Africans hurt in Giza blast expected back home on Monday

The group, along with other tourists, were travelling on a bus to the famed Giza pyramids when they came under attack on Sunday.

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 International Relations Department is trying to gather more information on an explosion in which several South Africans were injured in Egypt.

The group, along with other tourists, were travelling on a bus to the famed Giza pyramids when they came under attack on Sunday.

Pictures posted on social media showed a bus with some of its windows blown out or shattered, and debris in the road next to a low wall with a hole in it.

The department’s Ndhivuwo Mabaya said: “We made sure we know where everyone is. We have updated their information and contacted their families so that their loved ones know whether they’ve been hospitalised or gone back to their hotels.”

South Africa’s ambassador to Egypt says 22 of the 25 South Africans who were on the bus are to return home on Monday.

Three others will remain in the North African country for further medical treatment.

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.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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