Egyptians conduct roundup of bombing suspects

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak vowed to hunt down the terrorists.

A new explosive detonated on Sunday near the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt police said. It was reportedly carried by a man from a tourist bazaar. The man allegedly was carrying the bomb in a sack. It might accidentally have exploded in the area of Kufr Tuhurmus. No other injuries were reported except to the bomber himself, Sami Gamal Ahmad, who was too badly injured to be questioned. The man may have been taking the explosive to the tourist area of Kerdassa, where souvenir shops are located in a bazaar near the pyramids, said an official.

Egyptian security forces have detained 70 suspects in a sweep to find the perpetrators in Saturday's early morning bombings that killed 88 and left hundreds injured.

The police investigation of the bombings has targeted a smaller number of people than the October 2004 roundup that followed attacks in the Sinai resorts of Tabas and Ras Shitan. 3,000 people were detained for questioning in those bombings. According to Canadian CTV, 200 of those people are believed to still be in custody.

A massive manhunt was undertaken in the Sinai Peninsula to identity whether it was foreigners who executed the attack. One security official speaking on the condition of anonymity told an Al Jazeera reporter that the bombers "did not appear to be locals." But the New York Times reported that Bedouin leaders were arriving at the local police headquarters, possibly over concerns that many of the suspects picked up in the prior bombing in the region were, by human rights group accounts, Bedouin.

Among the dead, officials said victims included British, Russian, Dutch, Kuwaitis, Saudis, Qataris, Czech Republic, U.S., and native Egyptians. Sixty were identified as Egyptians, and at least eight were foreigners.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said, "The whole world is getting very disturbed. The frequency [of attacks] seems to be mounting." Badawi chairs the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Resort hotels are being abandoned by tourists. At the nearest international airport, hundreds are reported trying to get flights out.

Three bombs erupted in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh just after 1am. At the Ghazala Gardens hotel, work is underway to clear the destroyed reception lobby where emergency teams have gavin up the search for survivors. A car with 660 pounds of explosives drove into the hotel's driveway and detonated in an apparent suicide attack.

The day of the bombings is marked as an Egyptian national holiday that commemorates the bloodless coup by a group of army officers that brought them to power after deposing King Farouk in 1952. Egypt has been the victim of 15 tourist attacks since October 1992.

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