Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Carnage in Egypt

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Carnage in Egypt

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Lucas

Three terrorist bombs last night hit the Egyptian resort of Dahab at the height of the tourist season, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 150.

It is the third terror strike on a Sinai resort in less than two years.

British embassy officials in Egypt were last night trying to find out if any Britons had been hurt.

Witnesses said the blasts happened close to each other in the centre of Dahab at around 7.15pm local time (6.15pm British time), when the area was crowded with people eating dinner and shopping.

One of the bombs is believed to have struck the el-Khaleeg hotel. Another caused extensive damage at the Al Capone restaurant.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "Once again terrorists have demonstrated their callous disregard for human life. We are doing everything possible to investigate if any British nationals have been involved."

President George Bush described them as "a heinous act against innocent civilians".

The attackers struck a day after al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden issued a taped warning that ordinary Western citizens had become legitimate targets of his terrorist organisation because of their support of governments he said were conducting a "crusader war against Islam".

President Hosni Mubarak, whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism, said the blasts were a "sinful terrorist action".

Hotels and guesthouses in the resort were full not only of foreigners but also Egyptians who were celebrating the long Coptic Christian Easter weekend that coincided this year with Shem al-Nessim, the ancient holiday marking the first day of spring.

The Egyptian government said the bombers were locals without international connections, but other security agencies said they suspected al Qaida.

The Sinai Peninsula is popular with Israeli tourists and Israel's rescue service said at least three of its citizens were wounded.

Joseph Nazir, who owns a safari company in Dahab, said the Al Capone restaurant had been destroyed. …

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