A tourist bus explosion in near site of Giza Pyramids in Egypt reported by a number of leading news agencies. According to reports there are dead and wounded. There are pictures claimed to be from the scene of the explosion.
Details to follow.
AMENDED: Two dead and 14 wounded reported by local media.
AMENDED: officials qualify the blast as a terrorist attack, highly likely perpetrated by militants of Islamic State (ISIS). However no terrorist group claimed the attack so far.
AMDENDED: The bus was carrying 12 Vietnamese tourists when an homemade device placed near a wall along the Mariyutiya street, near the Giza Pyramids, went off. 2 people died, 10 were injured as well as the bus driver and the tour guide, both Egyptian.
Salzburg – After the Salzburg summit, the EU intends to deepen its migration cooperation with Egypt and other African countries. President of the European Council Donald Tusk said there was agreement to hold a summit with the Arab League in Egypt in February. On Thursday, Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) described Egypt as exemplary in the fight against illegal migration and smuggling.
Kurz added that it was also the EU’s wish to have a dialogue with Egypt on economic development. Tusk also said that – in the end – the intention was to have “a broader partnership”. He planned to advance those ideas as early as this Sunday at a meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in New York.
According to Sebastian Kurz, Egypt was not in favour of refugee centres. The country was, however, “very efficient in its fight against illegal migration”. In the past two years, no more refugee ships from Egypt had reached Europe. The Federal Chancellor also regarded the “disembarkation platforms” for migrants, decided by the EU last June and rejected by Egypt, as not necessary. The decisive point in this issue was to make sure that as few people as possible set out illegally from Northern Africa to Europe.
Sebastian Kurz continued by saying that nowadays hardly any rescue operations took place in the EU coastal area, with the operations happening close to the African coast. The legal obligation to bring people to Europe only arose once those people entered European coastal waters. He supported Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, in his criticism of the current practice of rescuing refugees. “Nobody can say that this policy has saved lives”, Chancellor Kurz declared. “A new system is needed”, which could be initiated by strong partners in Africa. Three years ago one would have been denounced as right-wing or a right-wing radical for uttering such ideas, said Sebastian Kurz.
An explosion has struck a mosque in Egypt’s northern Sinai, injuring and killing people, according to local media.
Egyptian state media MENA, citing an official security source, said that at least 54 people were killed and at least 75 injured.
The blast occurred in the al-Rawda village, west of el-Arish, shortly after Friday prayers.
News reports said that after the explosion, gunmen in four off-road vehicles opened fire on worshipers.
Local media also reported the closure of the Arish-Rafah road, further east.
The attack comes a day before the Rafah border crossing, the main gateway for Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip to the outside world, was due to open for a three-day period.
The border was briefly open earlier this week.
Hamas has agreed to dissolve the administration running Gaza, it said, a major step towards handing control of the enclave to a Palestinian unity government after a decade of bitter rivalry with President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Islamist group, which has ruled Gaza since a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007, said it had taken “a courageous, serious and patriotic decision to dissolve the administrative committee” that runs the territory of 2 million people, and hand power to some form of unity government.
Abbas welcomed Hamas’ move – a result of talks mediated by Egypt – and said he would convene the Palestinian leadership for discussions upon his return from New York where he was attending the U.N. General Assembly.
The development would “enable the formation of a national reconciliation government to work in the Gaza Strip and hold … elections,” he said in a statement on official news agency WAFA.
Four Arab states declared a boycott on Qatar, and issued an ultimatum to Doha with a demand to shut down Al Jazeera television channel, curb ties with Iran, close a Turkish base and pay reparations.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have sent a 13-point list of demands openly aimed on tempering Qatar’s active foreign policy. Kuwait is helping mediate the dispute.
Doha was reviewing the list of demands and that a formal response would be made by the foreign ministry and delivered to Kuwait, but added that the demands were not reasonable or actionable, according to a Qatari government spokesman.
“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” Sheikh Saif al-Thani director of Qatar’s government communications office, said in issued statement.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.
The coordinated move escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement, and adds accusations that Doha suppports the agenda of regional arch-rival Iran.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is to declare a three-month state of emergency after Isis attacks on two Coptic churches kills at least 43.
Twin bombings during packed services at churches in the cities of Alexandria and Tanta came as worshippers were celebrating Palm Sunday – the start of one of the most holy weeks in the Christian calendar.