Blasts rock Egyptian Sinai resort, 30 killed

4626.jpgThree explosions struck the Egyptian Sinai resort town of Dahab on Monday night, killing more than 30 people and wounding 150 others. The blasts took place at about 7:15 p.m. local time (1315 EDT) in an area frequented by tourists. The Egyptian Interior Ministry said the explosions hit the Nelson and Aladdin restaurants and the Ghazala supermarket. Security officials said the attacks killed more than 30 people and wounded about 150 others.  

Police immediately sealed off all the town exits. 

The explosions seemed to have been caused by remote-controlled bombs, state television reported. 

Egyptian officials said at least 20 ambulances and police cars were rushing to the el-Masbat area of the city. 

Egyptian President Muhammad Husni Mubarak denounced the attacks as a “wicked terrorist act”, and pledged that the perpetrators would be punished. 

The Hamas-led Palestinian government said it “strongly condemns this criminal act which flouts our religion, shakes Palestinian national security and works against Arab interests”. 

One eyewitness told the BBC he heard three “very loud explosions” in the area. After the attacks, he said he saw “a lot of bloody people coming by”. 

“The Egyptian police are very organised and they’ve cleared out the whole area where the bombs went off,” he added. 

A local ambulance official told Reuters that many of the dead appeared to be foreigners. 

Dahab, which means gold in Arabic, is a popular tourist spot located on the Gulf of Aqaba on the eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula. The city is popular with Western and Israeli tourists. 

Many Egyptians were also vacationing in the Red Sea Coast resort as the bombings struck on Sham al-Nessim, a public holiday which marks the beginning of spring. The attacks also come one day ahead the anniversary of Sinai’s liberation from Israeli occupation. 

There was no immediate word on the nationality of the victims. 

According to AFP, more than 200,000 Israeli holidaymakers were in Dahan at the time of the blasts. 

However, Israel’s ambassador in Cairo Shalom Cohen said there were no immediate reports of Israeli casualties. 

Egypt‘s southern Sinai peninsula resorts have witnessed several attacks in recent years. 

In July 2005, at least 70 people died in a bomb attack in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh. More than 34 others were killed in several simultaneous attacks in and around the resort of Taba in October 2004. 

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