TEL AVIV (Feb. 6)
Six of the nine Israelis killed in a terrorist attack on a tour bus in Egypt on Sunday were buried in cemeteries throughout Israel on Tuesday, and funeral services for the other three will be held Wednesday.
The Egyptian authorities, meanwhile, announced that two or three suspects have been arrested and will be charged with the machine gun and grenade assault that also took two Egyptian lives and wounded 19 Israelis.
One of the suspects is a former Palestinian resident of the border town of Rafah, who acquired Egyptian citizenship several years ago, reports from Cairo said.
The reports said a manhunt was under way for another suspect, described as a Palestinian with a Jordanian passport. The passport was found in the white Peugeot car used by the assailants, which the Egyptian authorities recovered Monday.
The attack is believed to have been carried out by right-wing Islamic fundamentalists with the intention of harming both Israel and Egypt.
The suspect from Rafah was reported to be a member of such a group, the Islamic Jihad.
Eighteen of the wounded bus passengers remained hospitalized Tuesday, and five or six were being treated for minor injuries.
The rest had light bullet or shrapnel wounds in their arms and legs. Three passengers were uninjured.
A number of the wounded have spouses who were killed in the attack, and the hospitals have assigned social workers to help them through their grief.
RELATIVES KEPT WAITING
Relatives of the victims, meanwhile, complained bitterly of their treatment at Ben-Gurion Airport.
They were summoned there Monday to be told the condition of the wounded and at which hospitals they were being treated, and to receive the bodies of the dead, which were flown from Cairo in an Israel air force Hercules transport plane Monday.
But airport authorities and the Israel Defense Force kept them waiting behind plate glass windows and barbed wire.
When the transport plane landed, relatives who surged onto the tarmac were forcibly restrained by police, they said.
In Washington, B’nai B’rith International condemned the attack, and mourned the death of one if its members, Ze’ev Shiftan, who had been a member of the International Council of B’nai B’rith.
In Cairo, meanwhile, Egyptian authorities assailed the local tour operator for failing to inform them of the trip.
Advance notification is required to allow the Tourism Ministry’s security police to arrange for guards on the bus during the trip from the Egyptian border to Cairo.
Israeli tour operators said armed guards were provided in the past but discontinued several months ago.
One of the Egyptian dead was described as a security guard. It appears likely now that armed guards will ride all tour buses from Israel and will be posted at Egyptian hotels where Israelis stay.