"The information we have indicates that (the perpetrators) are Sinai Bedouin, and the latest operations are linked to the previous attacks," Habib el-Adly told state television on Wednesday, referring to the terror attacks in the Sinai resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh last July and Taba in October 2004.

Three bombs exploded nearly simultaneously on Monday in the Sinai resort of Dahab, killing 21 people and wounding more than 80, and two suicide bombers attacked international peacekeepers and Egyptian police on Wednesday on the northern edge of the Sinai Peninsula.

El-Adly said he believed Wednesday's attacks, in which only the suicide bombers were hurt, were carried out by the same group responsible for the Dahab bombings on Monday, and that they both strikes were linked to those of 2005 and 2004.

"In my evaluation, the two incidents (Wednesday) are closely linked to the Dahab event, and those who committed (Wednesday's strike) belong to the same Dahab group," the minister said.

Timing question

Asked why the bombers chose national holidays for their attacks, el-Adly said: "This requires further thought. Do these people have a certain vision or do they think the police will be more relaxed on a holiday - which is not true.

"On vacations, police officers are on alert," he added.

Monday's blasts in the Dahab
resort killed 21 people

The Taba attack in October 2004 took place a day after the holiday that commemorates the start of the 1973 war with Israel, and the Sharm el-Sheikh attack last July took place on the day that marks Egypt's 1952 revolution.

Two men blew themselves up in Egypt's north Sinai, one near an airport used by an international observer force and the other near the northern town of El Arish, on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) group, which supervises the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, said the first bomber appeared to single out for attack two of its vehicles but there were no MFO injuries.

The MFO, which has contingents from 11 countries, was set up to supervise security provisions in the 1979 peace treaty.

It patrols the Egyptian-Israeli border to ensure that the treaty is observed.

No casualties

The second man blew himself next to a police car outside a police station in Sheikh Zuwayed, near the northern coast town of El Arish.

The car was empty and there were no other casualties, security sources said.

An Interior Ministry statement, however, gave a different version of the explosions, saying one was by a bedouin on a bicycle carrying a bomb.

The interior minister has blamed
Sinai bedouins for recent attacks

It said a police officer was leaving El Gorah airport, where the MFO has its main base, when he saw a man carrying a bomb.

The bomb exploded as the officer's car passed, smashing the windscreen but causing no casualties, it said.

When two police officers left the North Sinai police headquarters to investigate the first incident, the Bedouin on the bicycle tried to obstruct them with a bomb, it said.

"The bomb blew him up and he died and the explosion had no other effect," the statement added.

Police sources had said that two policemen were injured in the first explosion.