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Islamist militant group claims responsibility for Sinai tourist bus attack

A Sinai-based Jihadist group has claimed responsiblity for the bombing of a tourist bus on Sunday in which four people were killed. It has threatened more attacks on economic targets.

The Islamist militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Arabic for "Champions of Jerusalem," claimed reponsibility for Sunday's attack in a statement posted on Jihadist websites late on Monday.

"One of the heroes of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis carried out the attack on a tourist bus heading towards the Zionist entity (Israel)," the statement read.

The statement added that the bombing was "part of our economic war" against the Egyptian government, and said the group would continue to target the government's "economic interests everywhere to force it to stop its actions against Muslims."

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified, but it was posted on al Qaeda-affiliated websites.

Ansar has claimed responsiblity for several high-profile attacks in the past, including a car bombing at police headquarters in Cairo and the shooting down of a military helicopter.

Change of tactics?

The bombing on Sunday near the Taba border crossing with Israel killed three South Korean tourists and their local driver. Authorities have called it a suicide attack, but the Ansar statement did not contain any suggestion that the perpertrator was dead.

Though scores of police and soldiers have been killed in attacks, Sunday's incident was the first to target tourists since Islamist militants in the Sinai began a violent campaign in the wake of the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in July.

The Egyptian military has sent tanks and troops to combat the militants in the Sinai amid fears that the group could be changing its tactics and begin to attack "soft" tourist and economic targets.

Egypt experienced a spate of tourist attacks in the 1990s during an Islamist uprising, and in 2004 a bombing at the Sinai resort of Taba killed 34 people, including Israeli tourists.

tj/mkg (Reuters, Ap, AFP)

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