A damaged bus is seen at the site of a blast near a museum under construction at the Giza pyramids in Cairo, Egypt, May 19 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SAYED SHEASHA
A damaged bus is seen at the site of a blast near a museum under construction at the Giza pyramids in Cairo, Egypt, May 19 2019. Picture: REUTERS/SAYED SHEASHA

Vusi Mavimbela, SA’s ambassador to Egypt, is in contact with Egyptian authorities to gather more information about SA tourists who were reportedly injured in a bus explosion near Cairo on Sunday.

Unconfirmed reports suggest at least 12 people were injured in an explosion targeting a tourist bus carrying 25 South Africans from the airport to the Giza pyramids. Four Egyptians in a nearby car were also injured by broken glass.

The department of international relations & co-operation said on Sunday that minister Lindiwe Sisulu had been informed of the explosion and Mavimbela and his team were visiting hospitals to verify information and would report back to Pretoria. The department has also set up a hotline for families seeking information on their loved ones in Egypt.

Department spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said the number of SA tourists aboard the bus was still being verified, and that two SA families had so far inquired about their loved ones in Egypt.

“When we have all the information we will communicate with family,” Mabaya said. “[There has been] no death reported so far.”

A witness to the blast, which took place near a museum under construction, claims to have heard a “very loud explosion” while sitting in traffic. Images on social media suggest some of the bus windows had shattered, and debris was strewn in the road.

The explosion occurred near where another tourist bus was targeted in December.The museum is scheduled to open in 2019 and will house some of Egypt’s top antiquities. It is part of the government’s drive to boost tourism, a key revenue source for Egypt, which has been in decline since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and the 2015 bombing of a Russian passenger jet.

Though Egyptian security forces are waging a counterinsurgency campaign against Islamist militants that is focused in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, attacks outside Sinai have been relatively rare.

At the time of going to print, no group had claimed responsibility for the blast.

Reuters

Twelve people, mostly South African tourists, have been injured in an explosion targeting a bus that was heading for Egypt's Giza pyramids on May 19 2019.