TERRORISM - 2006
Explosions Kill at Least 22, Wound 150 Others
April 24 , 2006 (Bloomberg) -- Egypt said at least 22 people were
killed and 150 others were wounded in explosions in the
coastal resort of Dahab, according to state-run television. At
least four of the dead were foreigners.
The New York Times cited a toll of 30 dead, attributing the
figure to the Ministry of Health. Basma Mahmoud, a spokeswoman
at Egypt's United Nations mission in New York said three
successive explosions took place at the el-Mashrabiyah Hotel.
Egypt's official news service said the blasts happened in a
commercial market, ``near coffee shops popular with tourists,
by the beach.'' The differing accounts couldn't immediately be
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for
the attack, the bombings came a day after the broadcast of an
audio message attributed to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
that threatened the U.S. and other Western countries. Egypt is
a major U.S. ally in the Arab world.
Dahab is located on the eastern side of the Sinai
Peninsula, on the Gulf of Aqaba. The governor of the province,
Mohamed Hani Metwali, told the Egyptian news agency that all
roads and access to Dahab and cities in the area were sealed
off as authorities hunted for suspects.
The attack is the latest to strike coastal resorts on the
Sinai, which abuts Israel and is popular with Israeli
tourists. At least 64 people died in July in coordinated
bombings at hotels in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh,
south of Dahab. Bombings in and around the Egyptian Sinai
resort of Taba in 2004 killed 34 people, including Israelis.
Among those injured in the Dahab attack were nationals of
Italy, France, Denmark and Georgia, along with Egyptians who
worked in the market area bombed, Egypt's state-run Nile TV
Interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed his
country's condolences to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in a
``Egypt is determined to fight the forces of terrorism that
are threatening the sons of the nation and their livelihood,
and seeks to harm the nation's security and stability,''
Mubarak said in a statement carried by the state- run news
The attack took place during Shem el-Nessim, a traditional
one-day national holiday celebrating the start of spring after
Coptic Orthodox Easter.
In bin Laden's audiotape message, he asked his followers to
fight ``crusaders'' in western Sudan, where the United Nations
is seeking to send 20,000 troops.
In the last audiotape attributed to bin Laden, aired on
Jan. 19 by al-Jazeera, the al-Qaeda leader threatened new
strikes against the U.S., while offering a ``long-term truce''
linked to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and
Afghanistan. The U.S. rejected the offer.
French President Jacques Chirac last week met with Mubarak
to request that Egypt pressure the Hamas-led Palestinian
government to renounce violence after Hamas endorsed an April
17 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed nine Israelis.
Egypt has worked as an interlocutor between Israel and the
In his most recent audiotape, bin Laden said the
international isolation of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority
government proves there is a crusade against Islam.
The U.S. and European Union cut off aid to the Palestinian
government to protest Hamas' refusal to renounce violence and
its aim to destroy Israel. Both the U.S. and EU label Hamas a
terrorist organization for its attacks on Israeli civilians.
To contact the reporters on this story:
Todd Zeranski in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;
Bill Varner in United Nations at email@example.com.
Updated: April 24, 2006 19:03 EDT
for local militants to strike|
Tuesday April 25, 2006
Just one day after Osama bin Laden issued another chilling
message, last night's bombings in Egypt will inevitably revive
the suspicions voiced by Washington that al-Qaida tapes
sometimes contain coded instructions for terrorists.
However, it is easy to see why local militants, of their
own accord, might have decided to strike in Egypt last night. It
was holiday time - the Coptic Christian Easter - when many enjoy
a seaside break in Sinai. It was also the eve of Sinai
Liberation Day, which marks the return of lands captured by
Israel: returned under the peace treaty for which former
president Anwar Sadat paid with his life.
If the timing was obvious, so was the target. For years,
terrorists in Egypt have sought to attack the tourism industry
on which the country depends for much of its foreign earnings.
Two attacks in 1997 - a massacre outside the Egyptian
Museum in Cairo and at Luxor in southern Egypt - wreaked havoc
with tourism, but also angered many Egyptians who depend on
the trade for their livelihoods, forcing the Islamists to call
a truce. After a lull of seven years, attacks resumed in 2004
with the Taba bombings in Sinai, which killed 34 people,
including Israeli tourists. Last July, a series of bombings in
Sharm el-Sheikh, on the southern tip of Sinai, killed at least
64 people, again mainly tourists.
The Egyptian authorities said the militants who carried
out the bombings were locals without international
connections, though security agencies have said they suspect
Attacks on tourist resorts have not been limited to
Egypt. Al-Qaida has been blamed for targeting tourist resorts
around the world in a campaign of bombings. In October 2002 a
series of bombs exploded outside the Sari nightspot in Kuta
Beach, a nightclub district of Bali in Indonesia. A total of
202 people, including 26 Britons, were killed and 132 injured.
The following month a bomb at the Israeli-owned Paradise
hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, killed 16 and injured 40, minutes
after two missiles narrowly missed an Israeli holiday jet that
had just taken off from the city's airport. Al-Qaida claimed
In May 2003 bombers set off at least five explosions in
Casablanca, Morocco, which hit a Spanish restaurant, a
five-star hotel and a Jewish community centre, killing 45
people, including 12 bombers, and wounding about 60.
Then in November 2005, three suicide bombings at hotels
in Amman killed 57 people, most of them Jordanians attending
wedding parties. Three Americans were also killed. An al-Qaida
website claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Al-Qaida itself grew in part out of Egyptian extremist
groups, and many of its key figures are, or have been,
Egyptians. They include Bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri,
and the late Muhammad Atef, as well as Mohammed Atta, the
leader of the September 11 hijackers.
Many regard Zawahiri, who was jailed in Egypt for his
role in the assassination of President Sadat in 1981, as the
brains behind many of al-Qaida's deadliest operations.
In the latest wave of bombings the Egyptian authorities
have tended to make reassuring noises, though their general
approach suggests a lack of precise intelligence. In the wake
of the Taba incident they rounded up thousands of people for
questioning. Four months later, according to Human Rights
Watch, as many as 2,400 detainees were still being held.
President condemns bomb blasts in Dahab
CAIRO, April 24 (Xinhua) --
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak condemned the three bomb
blasts in the Red Sea resort of Dahab in Egypt's Sinai
Peninsula on Monday evening as "terrorist act"
and vowed to bring perpetrators to justice, according to
Egypt's official MENA news agency.
least 30 people were killed and more than 150 others
wounded after the three explosions caused by
remote-controlled bombs rocked the tourist town, Egyptian
police and medics said.
However, the Egyptian Interior
Ministry put the death toll at 10 including four
foreigners and six Egyptians, in addition to 70 wounded.
The three bombs were planted
respectively in a hotel, a market and a restaurant, and
exploded almost simultaneously at around 7:15 p.m. local
time (1715 GMT).
A witness in the tourist
bazaar area of Dahab town said that a plume of smoke was
rising into sky and panicky people were running around
after a huge explosion was heard.
Dozens of ambulances and
police cars rushed to the scenes after the explosions,
Dahab is located on the Gulf
of Aqaba on the eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula.
At least 60 people were
killed and more than 200 wounded in three bomb explosions
in the most popular Red Sea resort of Sharmel-Sheikh, 85
km south of Dahab, on July 23, 2005.
Three Israelis were among the
wounded, according to Israeli rescue services.
No group has yet claimed
responsibility for the blasts.
U.S. President George W. Bush
also condemned the Dahab blasts.
"Today we saw again that the
terrorists are willing to try to define the world the way
they want to see it," Bush said in Las Vegas, Nevada. Enditem
'I saw people without heads'
April 25, 2006 - 9:46AM
Were you anywhere near the blast? Email us here.
Tourists have told of pandemonium in the streets after
three bombs exploded within seconds of each other in a popular
backpacking district in Egypt, killing at least 22 people and
injuring scores more.
Officials said a Russian and a Swiss national were among
the victims of the near simultaneous bombings at the Red
Sea resort of Dahab, the third such attack to hit resorts on the
Sinai peninsula in 18 months.
Egyptian television reported that an Australian tourist
was among the injured in three deadly explosions at an
Egyptian holiday resort, where 23 have died.
Khaled El-Tiasty from the Dahab Divers Hotel said
television reports indicated 18 Egyptians and four Europeans had
died in the blasts, but authorities expected the toll to rise.
"The news is telling us there was one Australian
among the victims. I'm not really sure if he was injured or
passed away," Mr El-Tiasty said.
The interior ministry said the blasts ripped through the
Ghazala supermarket and the Nelson and Aladdin restaurants in
central Dahab, which lies on the south-east of the peninsula
about 530km by road from Cairo.
"We have 10 complete bodies and body parts for 12
other people," Doctor Said Issa, the head of medical
emergencies for the South Sinai governorate, told reporters.
Egyptian security sources said at least four foreigners
were killed in the attacks and Israeli army radio said three
Israelis were among the wounded.
Remote controlled bombs
State television said the blasts appeared to have been the
result of remote controlled bombs, not suicide bombers.
An Australian also told of his escape from the
blasts while eating in a restaurant two doors away.
"I saw people without heads, without legs, without
nothing [taken] to the hospital," said Joseph Pouitou, a
24-year-old Israeli backpacker who was just 20 metres from the
"I was in Israel 24 years [and] I never saw a big
bomb like this. I see 20 people die - bodies on the
ground," Mr Pouitou told smh.com.au.
"I never come back here [to Egypt] again. What I see
here today, enough for me all my life. A lot of people get hurt,
a lot of European people and Americans get hurt here. I saw a
couple tourists die. All the people get panic and don't know
what to do."
Another backpacker, South African Stephen Murphy, was in
his hotel room when he heard the explosions.
"The first explosion went off and then maybe about
five seconds later the second one and then about another two
seconds later a third one went off," the 35-year-old from
'I knew it was very close'
"I knew that it was very close and my eyes were
closed throughout the explosion because it was really loud. It
felt like it was right outside the door."
He thought the bangs must have been exploding gas bottles
at nearby restaurants but when he looked outside he could see
tourists running away from two plumes of smoke.
"There were people screaming and running away from
the promenade which is where all the restaurants are. I just
grabbed my bag, opened the door and I could see the two plumes
of smoke from two of the explosions."
"People were just screaming. There were people
crying. Some people had blood stained on their clothes."
"I was actually quite worried because it was just
pandemonium. The Egyptians were screaming at each other as well
and that just made people panic as well."
He vowed to stay in Egypt as a protest against the
"I think terrorists want people to leave and I don't
think I'm going to be going anywhere."
One day after bin Laden tape
No one immediately claimed credit for the attacks, which
came one day after a new audiotape of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin
Laden surfaced accusing the "crusaders" of the West of
waging war against Islam, referring to the conflict in Darfur
and the isolation of the Hamas-led Palestinian government.
Medical staff at Dahab hospital were in the process of
identifying more of the victims before sending them to the
nearest morgue in Sharm el-Sheikh at the tip of the Sinai.
"There was blood everywhere but the victims were
evacuated very quickly," said Cecile Casey, a young French
tourist who was spending a few days in Dahab.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak pledged the perpetrators
of the "wicked terrorist act" would be punished, while
world leaders united in condemning the bombings, with US
President George W Bush branding them a "heinous act".
Israeli prime minister-designate Ehud Olmert also sent his
condolences to Mubarak and his office said the two leaders
discussed "the need for cooperation between the two
countries in the fight against international terrorism".
Liz Cush, of Sydney, told smh.com.au she was in
Dahab on an Easter break from teaching English at a school in
The 27-year-old from Newtown was eating with friends in a
restaurant when she heard a chain of "massive
"We were 150 metres away when the bombs went off at a
restaurant just around the corner,'' she said.
"There were three explosions - we could see everyone
running, not even screaming.
'They were massive explosions'
"They were massive explosions - I only heard two, I
don't know why, but they came one after another, all very close
"I didn't really know what was happening - I started
to hide behind a chair.
"I stayed in the restaurant for a couple of minutes
and then we went out the back of the restaurant and then out the
back of town in a desert area.''
She said she and her friends stayed out on the outskirts
of Dahab for an hour before venturing back into town.
"I went back and walked through town - there was
blood on the ground and glass and rubble everywhere,'' she said.
"Someone who works in a dive shop said police had
arrested all the Egyptian people who worked there.
"It's like in Sharm el-Sheikh - all the Egyptian
people are being treated as suspects.''
"It's really quiet here now, it's empty - the locals
are really shocked and the tourists are all on their hotels.''
- with David Braithwaite, Jordan Chong and agencies
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