Egyptian forces killed 40 terrorists in raids on three alleged hideouts in the country’s Giza and North Sinai governorate early Saturday, the Interior Ministry announced in a statement.
The ministry charged that the suspects had been planning on attacks during Christmas celebrations, the website Ahram Online reported. Egypt’s Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7.
The raids come after three Vietnamese nationals and an Egyptian tour guide were killed in a bombing attack on a bus Friday, Bloomberg News reported, citing a statement from the country’s Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadeq.
“This comes as a continuation of the ministry’s efforts in chasing terrorist elements involved in the implementation of hostile operations seeking to destabilize the country’s security,” the interior ministry said of the raids.
“Information was available to the national security sector about the preparation and planning of a series of terrorist attacks targeting state institutions, especially economy, tourism industry, armed forces, police and Christian houses of worship,” the statement added.
The improvised explosive device, or IED, was hidden near a wall on El-Maryoutiya Street in Giza’s Haram district and detonated when the bus drove by, CNN reported. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Egyptian Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek ordered an investigation into the explosion, including the materials used to construct the device.
The United States State Department issued a statement Friday condemning the bus attack in Giza.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of those killed and we wish a quick recovery for those injured,” the State Department said on Facebook. “We are unaware of any American citizen casualties at this time. We stand with all Egyptians in the fight against terrorism and support the Egyptian government in bringing the perpetrators of this attack to justice.”