The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for an attack Thursday on Israeli tourists in Giza, Egypt, a news agency that supports the extremist group reported, according to Reuters. There were no casualties in the attack, which apparently targeted a bus as it was being boarded by Israeli tourists.
The attack was aimed at Egyptian security forces, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said. Egypt, which has seen rising violence in recent months from the extremist group, aka ISIS, has stepped up security around tourist attractions. The latest attack was expected to further damage an already-struggling tourist industry, as many travelers have opted against trips to Egypt amid safety concerns.
The shooting Thursday occurred outside the Three Pyramids Hotel, which sits on a road that leads to the famous Giza pyramids. Those boarding the bus were Israeli Arabs, Egyptian security sources said. Fifteen people reportedly gathered on a street near the hotel and threw home-made fireworks toward security forces, officials said. One individual was reportedly detained at the scene just after the attack.
Egyptian media initially placed blame for the attack on the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that continues to contest Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s leadership of the country. The Muslim Brotherhood has been labeled a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government although government opponents and rights advocates have accused Sisi of vilifying the Brotherhood for political gain. The Egyptian government has also been accused of human rights abuses — including handing down mass death sentences to political rivals who often belong to the Brotherhood.
Tourism was once an important aspect of the Egyptian economy but began struggling amid political and economic instability after the ousting of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011. In recent months, an Islamic State group affiliate, known as the Sinai Province, has targeted tourists in the country.
In late October, a bomb was planted on a Russian passenger plane. All 224 people on board were killed, and the Sinai Province claimed responsibility for that attack. Fighters in an ISIS stronghold were filmed celebrating the attack, which was said to have been carried out in retribution of Russia’s airstrike campaign in Syria.
Extremist groups in the Sinai have been responsible for hundreds of deaths of Egyptian security forces since 2013.