SEOUL — South Korea voiced shock and outrage Monday at the bombing of a tourist bus in Egypt that killed three of its nationals, and issued a travel ban for the Sinai region.
The bomb tore through the bus carrying 31 South Korean tourists and their guide near an Egyptian border crossing with Israel in South Sinai on Sunday.
“We are shocked and enraged at the terrorist bombing on the bus… and strongly condemn the act,” Seoul’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Three South Koreans — two men and a woman — were killed along with the Egyptian driver, the ministry confirmed.
Another 13 were injured.
The tourists were all members of the same church group from the central South Korean county of Jincheon who were on a 12-day trip through Turkey, Egypt and Israel.
“We believe that terrorism can never be justified under any circumstances and such inhumane and unethical acts should be weeded out by all means,” the ministry said.
The South Korean ambassador to Egypt, Kim Young-So, told Seoul’s MBN TV station that the bombing appeared to be a suicide attack.
“An Egyptian man in his 20s suddenly boarded the bus and detonated the bomb… it appears to be a suicide bombing by a terrorist,” Kim said.
Seoul issued a total travel ban on the Sinai region and the Gulf of Aqaba, while urging its nationals living elsewhere in Egypt to take extra precautions or leave to a third country if possible.
It was the first attack on tourists since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by the army in July sparked civil unrest and a spate of attacks across Egypt that have mainly targeted security forces.
The bomb exploded in the front part of the bus at the Taba border crossing with Israel, Cairo’s interior ministry said.
The tourists had set off from Cairo and were waiting at the crossing to enter Israel when the explosion happened, it said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.