VARIOUS: Three bombs ripped through the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Dahab, killing at least 21 people and...
- Title: VARIOUS: Three bombs ripped through the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Dahab, killing at least 21 people and wounding more than 70
- Date: 25th April 2006
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) YANNA, A TOUR GUIDE FOR GROUP OF RUSSIAN PILGRIMS WHO WERE SENT BACK TO ISRAEL AFTER BORDER WAS CLOSED ON EGYPTIAN SIDE, SAYING: "Now they have to go back through Sinai. We came and there is no where to send them to. (Q: But why? the border crossing is open). The border crossing is closed and they (the tourists) are saying that on the Egyptian side they (Egyptian security) will not have them." (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) MAYOR YITZHAK HALEVY, MAYOR OF EILAT, SAYING: "The word is that there are a lot of injured, and we are waiting for more information. On our end in Eilat we already began preparations, I opened the control room, rescue teams are all ready, Club Hotel is ready to receive (injured or tourist) if it will be needed."
- Reuters ID: LVA1NKQM30TAX7PS4GC0K7YXH6XY
- Duration: 00:00:17
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- Topics: Domestic Politics
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- Story Text: Three bombs ripped through the tourist area in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Dahab on Monday (April 24), killing at least 21 people and wounding more than 70 in the latest attack on Egupt's lucrative tourism industry.
The governor of South Sinai, Mohamed Hani, told Reuters the three blasts were the work of suicide bombers and not as powerful as two previous sets of bombings in the Sinai peninsula.
But security sources in his province said initial investigations suggested planted explosive devices.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who battled against a violent campaign by militant Islamists in the 1990s, called the blasts a terrorist act, the state news MENA reported.
Hani said there were 21 dead and 71 wounded, including people from Germany, Russia, Italy, South Korea and the United States. The Interior ministry said four foreigners were killed but did not give nationalities.
Rescue officials said earlier they had counted 30 dead.
"The word is that there are a lot of injured, and we are waiting for more information. On our end in Eilat we already began preparations, I opened the control room, rescue teams are all ready, Club Hotel is ready to receive (injured or tourist) if it will be needed," said mayor of Eilat, Yitzhak Halevy.
The bombs wrecked several restaurants along the main tourist street in the small resort. Windows and furniture were smashed and pools of blood lay on the floor. People had abandoned the restaurant in mid-meal and fled the scene.
The Palestinian government was quick to condemn the attacks.
"The Palestinian government condemns these crimes, which results in murdering of some Egyptian citizens and tourists. We express our rejection and condemnation to this crimes and to anything which contributes in shaking the national security of our brother Egypt and which also violates all the values and human beings morals. We offer our condolences to Egypt, the President, the government and people and all the families of victims. And we also express our solidarity of our people to the Egyptian people," said spokesman for the Palestinian Cabinet, Ghazi Hamad.
In the bazaar, which sells souvenirs, handicrafts and jewellery, one of the blasts destroyed at least eight shops.
Residents said they saw body parts and debris outside a restaurant and that when the bombs went off at about 7.15 p.m. (1715 GMT) smoke billowed up from the market in Dahab, a beach and diving centre popular with foreign backpackers.
Dahab is also popular with Israeli holidaymakers but officials in neighbouring Israel said they were unaware of any Israeli casualties.
U.S. President George W. Bush condemned Dahab bombings. "The innocent life lost in Egypt is a heinous act against innocent civilians," Bush told a meeting in Las Vegas.
The blasts, on the ancient Egyptian spring festival of Shamm el-Nessim, hit the Nelson Restaurant, the Aladdin cafe and the Ghazala supermarket, the Interior Ministry said.
It was the third set of explosions on the eastern coast of the Sinai peninsula since October 2004, when a group attacked the Hilton hotel in the resort of Taba and two other resorts on the northeast coast, killing 34 people.
Egyptian authorities said a closely related group attacked again in the upmarket resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in July last year, killing at least 67 people. Those attacks were also on Egyptian holidays -- Oct. 6 and July 23.
Residents say that judging from the evidence they saw in the streets, the explosions were smaller than those in Sharm el-Sheikh and Taba and were not the result of car bombs.
Hamdi Ghazala, owner of the Ghazala supermarket, told Al Jazeera the bomb was outside his shop and damaged mainly the windows and facade. No one inside was injured.
The Sharm el-Sheikh attacks involved two car bombs and a suitcase bomb that hit hotels and shopping areas.
Egyptian authorities attributed the Taba and Sharm el-Sheikh attacks to a small Sinai-based group originally led by a man of Palestinian origin and with militant Islamist views.
One visitor to the town said cars and buses leaving the resort were being stopped by police.
The state news agency said: "The president (Hosni Mubarak) stressed the need to ... track down those responsible for this wicked terrorist act so that they pay the penalty by force of law."
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- Embargoed:10th May 2006 13:00