In a rare occurrence, two members of the tourism police were shot dead on Wednesday near Egypt’s top tourist destination, the Pyramids of Giza.
The state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported that unidentified assailants riding motorcycles opened fire on these two low-ranking policemen, before fleeing away from the scene of the crime.
No group or organization has yet claimed responsibility for this deadly shooting.
According to MENA, this attack is reported to have taken place just 30 meters away from a security checkpoint leading up to the Giza plateau where these pyramids are located. This attack is reported to have taken place at the western edge of the plateau.
Citing the police chief investigating this fatal shooting, the Reuters-affiliated Aswat Masriya reported that “a barrage of bullets” was fired at these two policemen.
According to Brigadier General Mohamed Farouq, chief of Giza’s criminal investigations unit, another conscript was injured in this same shooting.
Farouq is reported to have issued orders to cordon off the scene of the crime, and to comb the desert environs so as to apprehend the culprits.
The Ministry of Antiquities sought to downplay Wednesday’s shooting and allay concerns regarding this deadly incident which took place near by Egypt’s leading tourist destination.
Quoted in several mainstream media outlets, Kamal Wahid, the general director of antiquities in Cairo and Giza, commented that Wednesday’s attack took place nearly five kilometers away from the pyramids themselves.
Wahid claimed that this “unfortunate incident” has not affected tourism schedules or visitations to the last remaining wonder of the ancient world.
Since the 1990s numerous terror attacks had targeted and killed scores of foreign tourists or tourism police in Upper Egypt (and subsequently in the Sinai Peninsula), yet only a very few isolated cases have taken place anywhere near the Pyramids of Giza.
Waves of deadly armed attacks have been hitting Egypt’s security forces ever since July 3, 2013, the date of the military-led ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime.