People and security officials walk and look as smoke rises from a tourist bus in the Red Sea resort town of Taba in the south Sinai, February 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned a terrorist attack on a tourist bus that killed four people in South Sinai on Sunday.
The 15-nation UN body slammed as a “heinous act" the bombing near the Taba border crossing with Israel – the first attack on tourists since the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July that sparked an Islamic insurgency, mostly targeting the police and army.
"Terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security," the council said in a statement.
"Any and all terrorist acts are criminal and unjustifiable," it reaffirmed.
The Council reaffirmed the need to combat threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and all obligations under international law.
The denunciation echoes one voiced earlier in the day by UN chief Ban Ki-moon in which he called for the perpetrators of the bombing to be brought to justice.
Sunday's blast, which authorities said was triggered by a suicide bomber, is expected to further damage Egypt's tourist industry – a top foreign currency earner - that has been decimated by three years of turmoil since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for the bus bombing and threatened more attacks on economic targets.
The group has claimed most of the deadly terrorist attacks in recent months, including a failed assassination attempt on the interior minister and the downing of a military helicopter that killed five crew members in January
The attack on Sunday marks a change of tack by Islamist militants to targeting tourists and waging an "economic war" against the state.
Scores of Egyptians and foreign tourists were killed between 2004 and 2006 in a spate of terrorist bombings in Sinai's southern region.
In 1997, Islamist militants murdered 58 tourists and four Egyptians in a pharaonic temple in the southern Nile town of Luxor in their campaign for an Islamic state.