Many dead in Egyptian resort blasts

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Location of Egypt

A string of at least three explosions in Egyptian resort towns in the Sinai early Saturday morning has left at least 88 people dead and over 200 more wounded.

One blast occurred at 1am in Sharm el-Sheikh, apparently in the market area, and two others about 15 minutes later in Naama Bay, a nearby resort. The explosions reportedly occurred outside hotels. A witness told the AP that the four-star hotel Ghazala Gardens has "completely burned down".

In October of last year, 34 people were killed in explosions in Taba and Ras Shitan, nearby resort areas popular with Israeli tourists. Due to this, officials blamed those attacks on violence related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Casualty reports

So far the local police have confirmed that at least 88 people have been killed and between 120 and 200 were wounded. Reuters news agency quotes doctors at the scene saying many of the injured are in critical condition. Reuters also indicates that the explosions may have been caused by car-bombs.

Most of the casualties are Egyptians, there are Britons, French, Spaniards, Dutch, Italians, Czechs, Qataris, and Kuwaitis.

Responsibility

A group calling itself Abdullah Azzam Brigades has claimed responsibility for the attacks. On a website the group stated that "holy warriors targeted the Ghazala Gardens hotel and the Old Market in Sharm el-Sheikh" and claimed it has ties to Al-Qaida. The authenticity of this statement has not been verified.

Reactions

In a televised statement Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said that the terrorists will only make his country "more determined to pursue terrorism and dig it out by the roots". He added that "we will not give in to its blackmail, or seek a truce". Egyptian Interior Minister Habib al-Adli called the attacks an "ugly act of terrorism".

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned the attacks saying that the "United States stands with our friend and ally Egypt. Together we will confront and defeat this scourge that knows no boundaries and respects no creed."

Russia, Japan, the United Nations, and the Palestinian Authority have also condemned the blasts.

The British Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, also condemned the attacks. While being questioned about who was responsible for the bombings, Mr Straw said: "Almost certainly they are evil people who will claim — wrongly — to have done this in the name of Islam."

Danish minister of Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller says: "I condemn, in the strongest possible ways, the terror attacks in Sharm el-Sheikh, that yet again target defenseless and innocent people. This can in no way be justified. My deepest sympathies to the wounded, the families and the people of Egypt."

In a telegram to the Egyptian President this morning, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, offered her condolences to the "brother nation of Egypt" on the death of, and injury to, a large number of Egyptian and foreign nationals during the bombings in Sharm al-Sheikh last night. She prayed for patience for the families of those killed and quick recovery for those injured. Mrs. Rajavi underscored, "Islamic fundamentalism and the terrorism emanating from it constitute the biggest threat to world peace and security. The heart of this ominous phenomenon is beating in Iran under the mullahs' regime, the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world today." She expressed hope that with the overthrow of the inhuman regime and the establishment of democracy in Iran, the world would see the eradication of the ideology of hate and violence, falsely propagated under the name of Islam, the great religion of compassion, friendship and tolerance. It is worthy of note that on Wednesday, the daily Kayhan, the mouthpiece of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, brazenly boasted, "Iran has an incalculable capacity to destabilize the entire Middle East. Given the circumstance, this destabilization could include a wide range of activities from limited local clashes to plunging the entire region into chaos and clashes."

Sources

Wikipedia
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