July 6, 2010 / 10:18 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 3-Egyptian bus driver shoots dead 6 people

* Driver had been planning antiquities theft - source

* Tells police attack was revenge after cut out of deal

* Company says to compensate victims’ families, wounded (Adds sources on motive, company statement, details)

By Yasmine Saleh

CAIRO, July 6 (Reuters) - An Egyptian bus driver shot dead six employees of a construction company and wounded six more as he drove them to work through a Cairo suburb on Tuesday, the company and a security source said.

Mahmoud Taha Swellem, 52, opened fire with an automatic rifle on the workers in a bus belonging to Egyptian construction firm Arab Contractors, company spokesman Effat Abdullah said.

The man was arrested and questioned, and told investigators he launched the attack in revenge against three employees with whom he had been planning to steal antiquities, but who then cut him out of the deal, the security source said.

Egypt has wealth of pharaonic and other archaeological sites and has battled to stop an illegal trade in stolen antiquities. The incident took place on a highway 15 km (9 miles) south of Cairo, the security source said, adding that the driver was taking 23 employees from their homes to work when he stopped the bus in the middle of the road and opened fire.

Arab Contractors, which is state owned, said it would offer a one-off payment of 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($18,050) to the family of each of those killed plus a monthly payment of 500 pounds until until the family’s children finish their education.

Those wounded would receive 20,000 pounds, it said.

There were women employees on the bus but none were killed or severely injured, Abdullah said. “Only one woman had a small injury but she is fine now and has left the hospital,” he said.

A security source said the victims included a financial manager and a department head. ($1=5.541 Egyptian Pound) (Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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