Egyptian security forces killed 40 suspected militants in three separate incidents in North Sinai and Giza, the Interior Ministry said, a day after a Vietnamese tourist bus was bombed in Giza killing four people.
The bombing, less than 4 km from the pyramids is the first deadly attack against foreign tourists in Egypt for more than a year and comes as the tourism sector, a vital source of foreign currency, recovers from a sharp drop in visitor numbers since the 2011 uprising.
A spokesman for Britain’s Thomas Cook travel group said it cancelled day trips to Cairo from the Red Sea resort Hurghada following the attack and would continue to review the security situation.
The ministry did not say whether the suspected militants were connected to Friday’s attack, but said forces killed 30 people during raids on hideouts in Giza where “terrorist elements” were planning a series of attacks targeting state institutions and the tourism industry.
Security forces also killed 10 suspected militants in North Sinai, where the country is fighting an insurgency led by Islamic State. State news agency MENA said the suspects were killed in a gun battle.
The ministry did not give details about the suspects’identity or casualties and injuries among security forces. The statement said three raids took place simultaneously.
The ministry published photos of bloodied bodies with faces concealed and assault rifles and shotguns on the floor beside them.
Three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide were killed and at least 10 others injured when a roadside bomb hit their tour bus on Friday.
Events such as the bombing of a Russian airliner shortly after it took off from Sharm el Sheikh in 2015, killing all 224 people on board, saw tourist numbers to Egypt plunge.
There are still no direct flights from major tourist markets such as Britain and Russia to the country’s biggest Red Sea resort, Sharm el Sheikh, since that attack.
Government says fighting Islamist militants is a priority as it works to restore stability after turmoil that followed the “Arab Spring” protests of 2011.
Egypt’s military and police launched a major campaign against militant groups last February, targeting the Sinai Peninsula as well as southern areas and the border with Libya.