Egypt sweeps Sinai for blast suspects

The Egyptian authorities have arrested dozens of people in connection with the bomb blasts that killed 88 people in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Shaikh.

The majority of the dead and injured are Egyptians
The majority of the dead and injured are Egyptians

The raid and search operations in the northern and southern Sinai governorates, which began hours after the attack late on Friday night, are continuing, reported Aljazeera’s correspondent in Egypt, Samir Omar.

Egyptian authorities have arrested 90 suspects. Sixty of the suspects were arrested in northern Sinai district.

Police were questioning them, although none was suspected of involvement and some were freed afterwards, police officials told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

A security official involved in the investigation said some witnesses told police the bombers “did not appear to be locals”.

DNA samples were being analysed, he said, although he would not elaborate if those samples belonged to the attackers.

Police were also exploring any links to simultaneous bomb attacks last October on hotels in Taba and Ras Shitan, two other Sinai resorts farther north, that killed 34 people.

Coordinated attacks

In all, 88 people were confirmed dead, mostly Egyptians, said Said Abd al-Fattah, manager of the Sharm al-Shaikh International hospital where the victims were taken. At least 119 people were also wounded, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said.

Rubble is being cleared as thesearch for survivors concludes

Rubble is being cleared as the
search for survivors concludes

Among the dead were two Britons, two Germans, an Italian and a Czech, according to Abd al-Fattah and officials from the victims’ nations.

At the Ghazala Gardens hotel, construction workers cleared away the flattened reception lobby after emergency teams apparently gave up the search for survivors.

A car packed with 300kg of explosives barrelled into the Ghazala’s driveway and detonated on Friday night.

Only a few body parts were still being found, and officials said the toll was not expected to rise significantly.

The attacks were well coordinated.

The car bombs – apparently driven by suicide attackers -detonated at the 176-room luxury Ghazala Gardens in Sharm’s main strip of Naama Bay, and also 3km away at a minibus lot in the Old Market, an area frequented by Egyptians who work at Sharm’s resorts.

A third blast, hidden in a sack, went off about the same time near a boardwalk along the beach where tourists often stroll at night.


Egyptian authorities have identified possible motives for the explosions, reported the director of Aljazeera’s office in Egypt, Husayn Abd al-Ghani.

They believe the attacks may be politically motivated and linked to the policies of the Egyptian and Arab governments in the region.

More than a thousand foreign tourists have left the resort

More than a thousand foreign
tourists have left the resort

The authorities are looking into any probable local and regional links and are also investigating a possible breach in security at the resort.

Meanwhile, sources at the Sharm al-Shaikh hospital told Aljazeera that the condition of some of the injured had improved and they might be discharged on Sunday.

Some of the other injured patients are to be transferred to hospitals outside Sharm al-Shaikh.

Tourists leave

More than a thousand foreign tourists left Sharm al-Shaikh on Sunday as many of the planes arriving in the resort were empty.

About 1100 Italian tourists arrived back from Egypt during the night at Milan’s Malpensa airport after the bombings in which at least one Italian was among the dead, airport authorities said.

The first flight from Italy at 0500 GMT on Sunday left with only two of the anticipated 128 passengers. A second flight left with eight occupied seats out of 165.

Some European governments were advising their citizens against travelling to the Sinai resort.

Egyptian shares dropped on Sunday in the first trading session after the bombings in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Shaikh.

The benchmark Hermes index fell 4.5% in the first 10 minutes of trade but edged back to 41,992.49 points by 12.30pm, down 3.2% from Thursday’s close of 43,396.29.

Cairo blast

An Egyptian man was critically wounded by the accidental explosion of his own bomb in Cairo on Sunday, police said, the day after triple bombings in the resort of Sharm al-Shaikh.

Sami Jamal Higazi, 33, was critically wounded when he dropped the bag containing the home-made bomb in southern Cairo, the source said.

Saturday’s pre-dawn attacks in Sharm al-Shaikh on the Red Sea were claimed by an al-Qaida-linked group.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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