April 24, 2006

Blasts at Egyptian resort kill 30

By Mohammed Abbas

CAIRO (Reuters) - Three explosions shook the Egyptian Sinai
resort of Dahab on Monday, killing 30 people and wounding more
than 100, rescue and security officials said.

Witnesses said smoke billowed up from the town's tourist
bazaar, and residents said they saw body parts and debris on
the street after an explosion at a restaurant.

An Interior Ministry statement gave a toll of 10 dead and
100 injured. The ministry often lags behind other sources. It
said there were four foreigners among the dead, but did not
give their nationalities.

Witnesses in the small beach and diving resort, which is
popular with backpackers, described scenes of carnage and

A cafe worker who was about 200 meters (yards) from the
scene said: "We saw many dead people. People were screaming.
People were being taken to hospital. Egyptians went to give
blood. There were body parts. There's police everywhere."

"There were body parts and debris in the street ... There
are ambulances and cars taking people to hospital," said
another resident, who also did not want to be named.

The explosions took place at the Nelson Restaurant, the
Aladdin Cafeteria and the Ghazala Supermarket, the Interior
Ministry said.

An official with the local ambulance service said many of
the dead appeared to be foreigners.

Israeli divers often stay in the resort but with the
Passover holiday over it is unlikely many were there. The
Israeli ambassador in Cairo and Israeli authorities said they
did not know of any Israeli casualties.

It was the third set of three explosions on the eastern
coast of the Sinai peninsula since October 2004, when a group
attacked the Hilton hotel in the border resort of Taba and two
other resorts on the northeast coast, killing 34 people.

The Egyptian authorities said a closely related group
attacked again in the up-market resort of Sharm el-Sheiklh in
July last year, killing at least 67 people.

Those attacks were both on Egyptian holidays -- October 6
and July 23. Monday's explosions coincided with the ancient
spring festival of Shamm el-Nessim, when Egyptians head out of

The explosions on Monday took place in quick succession at
about 7:15 p.m. (1315 EDT). "There is smoke coming from the
area and there are people running everywhere," said one
witness, who heard the blasts.

One visitor said police were stopping cars and buses
leaving the resort and had imposed restrictions on movements in
and out of backbacker camps in the area.

The 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