Egypt resort blasts kill at least 23

At least 23 people have been killed and 62 wounded after three bombs exploded in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Dahab.

    A wounded foreign tourist is attended to after the explosions

    The blasts on Monday evening took place on a crowded street in an area popular with foreign tourists.

    Ahmad Samir, a witness in Dahab, told Aljazeera: "Foreigners were scared and panicking. They were asking us where to go and how to escape."

    The blasts are the latest in a series of attacks on tourists and resorts in Egypt.

    In July last year, an attack on the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh involving two car bombs and a suitcase bomb killed 67 people.

    The governor of South Sinai, Muhammad Hani, told Reuters on Monday that the three blasts were the work of suicide bombers and not as powerful as two previous sets of three simultaneous bombings at resorts in the Sinai peninsula over the past two years.

    But security sources in his province said initial investigations suggested planted explosive devices.

    An interior ministry statement said there were 23 dead, including a German boy and two unidentified foreigners.

    Rescuers carry an injured person
    after the deadly blasts in Dahab

    The 62 wounded included 20 foreigners, among them three Danes, three Britons, two Italians, two Germans, two French people, a South Korean, a Lebanese, a Palestinian, an American, an Israeli and an Australian, it added.

    Dahab is also popular with Israeli holidaymakers, but officials in neighbouring Israel said they were unaware of any Israeli casualties.

    Rescue officials said earlier they had counted 30 dead, and other officials had said up to 150 were injured.

    "The explosions were a bit weaker than the previous ones but now they are using suicide attacks," said Hani.

    The bombs wrecked several restaurants along the main tourist street in the small resort. Windows and furniture were smashed and pools of blood lay on the floor. People had abandoned the restaurant in mid-meal and fled from the scene.

    Shops destroyed

    In the bazaar, which sells souvenirs, handicrafts and jewellery, one of the blasts destroyed at least eight shops.

    Residents said they saw body parts and debris outside a restaurant and that when the bombs went off at about 7.15pm (1715 GMT) smoke billowed up from the market in Dahab, a beach and diving centre popular with foreign backpackers.

    The wrecked fish stall of one of
    the restaurants hit by the blasts

    "We saw many dead people. People were screaming. People were being taken to hospital. There are police everywhere," said a cafe worker near the scene of one explosion, who like many other witnesses requested anonymity.

    One Dahab resident said: "There were body parts and debris in the street ... There are ambulances and cars taking people to hospital."

    The blasts, on the ancient Egyptian spring festival of Shamm al-Nassim, hit the Nelson Restaurant, the Aladdin cafe and the Ghazala supermarket, the interior ministry said.

    It was the third set of explosions on the eastern coast of the Sinai peninsula since October 2004, when a group attacked the Hilton hotel in the resort of Taba and two other resorts on the northeast coast, killing 34 people.

    Past attacks

    Egyptian authorities said a closely related group attacked again in the upmarket resort of Sharm al-Sheikh last year. Those attacks were also on Egyptian national holidays - October 6 and July 23.

    Residents say that judging from the evidence they saw in the streets, the explosions were smaller than those in Sharm al-Sheikh and Taba and were not the result of car bombs.

    Egyptian authorities attributed the Taba and Sharm al-Sheikh attacks to a small Sinai-based group originally led by a man of Palestinian origin and with radical Islamist views.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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