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Bomb blast hits tourist bus near Egypt pyramids

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A bomb blast hit a tourist bus near Egypt’s famed Giza pyramids on Sunday, wounding some of them, including South Africans, in the latest blow to the country’s tourism industry.

The roadside bomb went off as the bus was being driven in Giza, also causing injuries to Egyptians in a nearby car, medical and security sources said.

Security and medical sources in Egypt said 17 people were injured, without giving a breakdown of their nationalities. No deaths were reported.

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South Africa said in a statement that the “bus explosion” injured three of its 28 citizens who were part of the tourist group.

They would remain in hospital while the rest would return home on Monday, said the statement from the department of international relations.

“A device exploded and smashed the windows of a bus carrying 25 people from South Africa and a private car carrying four Egyptians,” the security source said.

Video footage captured by AFP showed the bus and car with broken windows on the side of the road.

According to the security source, the wounded were being treated for scratches caused by the broken glass.

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AFP / Cecilia SANCHEZ Egypt

Sunday’s incident comes after three Vietnamese holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide were killed when a roadside bomb hit their bus as it travelled near the Giza pyramids outside Cairo in December.

It also comes just little more than a month before the African Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt is to kick off.

Egypt has been battling an insurgency that surged especially in the turbulent North Sinai region following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was replaced by former army general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

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In February 2018, the army launched a nationwide operation against militants, focusing mainly on the North Sinai region.

– Tourism recovery –

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Some 650 militants and around 45 soldiers have been killed since the start of the offensive, according to separate statements by the armed forces.

AFP/File / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED Sunday’s incident comes months after another attack near the Giza pyramids near Cairo killed three Vietnamese holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide

Since first being elected in 2014, Sisi has presented himself as a bulwark against terrorism, promising stability and increased security.

Recently, the country’s vital tourism industry has started to slowly rebound after suffering strong blows due to deadly attacks targeting tourists following the turmoil of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

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Figures by the official statistics agency showed that tourist arrivals reached 8.3 million in 2017, compared with 5.3 million the previous year.

Authorities have gone at great lengths to lure tourists back, touting a series of archaeological finds and a new museum next to the pyramids, as well as enhanced security at airports and around ancient sites.

But that figure was still far short of the record influx of 2010 when more than 14 million visitors flocked to see the country’s sites.

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MSNBC’s Mika shocked by Morning Joe’s withering criticism of House GOP: ‘I’ve never heard you accuse someone of that’

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MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski was astonished by her co-host and husband Joe Scarborough's denunciation of congressional Republicans.

The "Morning Joe" hosts agreed GOP attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who earned a Purple Heart fighting in the Iraq War, and other impeachment inquiry witnesses were shameful, but Scarborough went even further in his criticism.

"People talk about the time, 'It's a time we're in,' -- no, it's not," Scarborough said. "It's lack of character among people on these committees, just a lack of character and a lack of love of country that they put their political party above their country."

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Sewer campus escape bid by Hong Kong protesters ends in arrest

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Two pro-democracy protesters were arrested Wednesday as they emerged from a manhole on a Hong Kong road outside a besieged campus, in a thwarted escape bid from inside the university.

Two male protesters holed up in the campus for days were detained along with four people lowering ropes to help them out from the drainage system, police said.

They apparently crawled through fetid sewers to a manhole outside a housing estate around half a kilometre from city centre grounds of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), the scene of the dramatic siege by police.

The group were arrested for a range of offences including "taking part in a riot" and "assisting offenders", chief superintendent Ricky Ho told reporters late Wednesday.

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Sondland’s hotels are facing backlash over Trump ties: ‘Do you want to support him?’

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Gordon Sondland's efforts to shield President Donald Trump from accountability in the Ukraine scandal has been bad for his personal business.

The U.S. ambassador to the European Union has twice updated his closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry after other witnesses implicated him in the scheme, and social media users are venting their frustration against his hotel chain on Yelp, reported The Daily Beast.

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