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Monday, April 24, 2006

30 killed, at least 150 wounded in Dahab explosions

There's been another terror attack in the Sinai Peninsula, this time in Dahab, which is along the eastern coast of the Sinai, about three quarters of the way to Sharm-el-Sheikh. There are a lot of casualties - it's not clear yet what their nationalities are, but we know that the wounded do include three Israelis. This is the latest from the web sites with my comments interspersed.


Thirty people were killed and at least 150 were wounded, including three Israelis, in three massive explosions in Dahab, on the east of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Monday night. [Any Israeli who goes to Sinai is taking his life in his hands, and the government has been warning us of that for months now. Israelis should find another place to vacation. CiJ]

The three Israeli casualties were on their way to the Taba border crossing where paramedics were waiting to treat them. [Depending on how they are getting there, this could take hours. CiJ]

According to the Foreign Ministry, there were an estimated 5,000 Israelis in Sinai, and another 1,000 Jewish tourists. [The Israelis - at least - are fools. CiJ]

The bombs were apparently placed on a bridge, in the El-Khalheeg Hotel cafeteria and near a police station prior to the explosions.

Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert telephoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, expressing his support.

Olmert told Mubarak that Israel and Egypt needed to cooperate in the fight against international terror. [We're still waiting for Egypt to start cooperating. How about taking care of the Sinai-to-Gaza crossings through which weapons continue to flow. CiJ]

Mubarak described the incident as a "terror attack."

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that he ordered the IDF to offer Egypt rescue and medical assistance. Egyptian authorities turned down the offer, saying that Israel's help was not required.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but a high ranking Israeli security official recently told the Jerusalem Post that the al-Qaida movement was operating a mere 30 kilometers south of Israel. [Debka reported in October that al-Qaeda was in Sinai. And I have mentioned it several times on this blog. CiJ]

Following the blasts Israel's security forces raised the level of alert in Eilat and closed the Taba border crossing. OC Home Front Command rescue teams were put on standby.

Authorities at the Israel-Egypt border received orders to allow any Israeli to cross from Sinai even without an Israeli passport.

The Foreign Ministry opened an emergency hotline and set up a situation room for Israelis wishing to contact friends and relations in Sinai.


The Sinai resort is commonly frequented by Israeli holidaymakers and is located on the Gulf of Aqaba on the eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula.

Germans, Italians and British tourists were also reported to be in the area.

There have been two terror attacks in Sinai since October 2004, when 34 people were killed, including 12 Israelis, at the Taba Hilton and the Ras as-Satan resorts. In July, 88 people were killed and hundreds wounded in an attack in Sharm e-Sheikh.


Three explosions rocked Egypt's Sinai resort town of Dahab on Monday night, leaving at least 30 people dead and 160 wounded.

One blast hit a hotel, a second a restaurant and the third explosion rocked a supermarket in the resort town's tourist area about 7:15 p.m. local time. Egyptian authorities said the blasts were likely not caused by suicide bombers but rather bombs that had been planted.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called the explosions a "wicked terrorist act." [I googled "Mubarak, Israel, 'wicked terrorist'" and it returned thirteen hits. In none of those hits did Mubarak refer to a terror attack in Israel as "wicked." CiJ]

"The president stressed the need to ... track down those responsible for this wicked terrorist act, so that they pay the penalty by force of law," the state news agency MENA said.

Dr. Said Essa, head of the Egyptian rescue forces in the region, said at least 17 people were killed at the el-Khaleeg Hotel alone.

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


This is high tourist season - part of a five-day Egyptian holiday - and hotels all along the Egyptian coasts could be expected to be at near capacity.

"There is smoke coming from the area and there are people running everywhere," said a witness, who did not want to be named.

Body parts and debris were seen in the streets after an explosion in a tourist restaurant, other residents said. One visitor said cars and buses leaving the resort were being stopped by police.

"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.

Dahab is located on on the Gulf of Aqaba on the eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula. Monday is part of a five-day spring holiday in Egypt.

Israeli defense officials believe Egyptian Islamic extremists aided by World Jihad, affiliated with Al-Qaida, were responsible for the explosions.

There have been a string of attacks in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula over the past 18 months, including deadly Al-Qaida-style bombings in the Egyptian resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan in October 2004 and in Sharm el-Sheikh in July.

Israeli defense officials said Monday's attacks resembled the earlier attacks.

Groups claiming links to Al-Qaida took responsibility for those attacks, and Egyptian authorities say new Islamic militant groups have arisen in the peninsula - but they are still trying to determine if they have any real connection to al-Qaida or other international terrorists.


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