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Suicide Bombers Likely Behind Egypt Attack

Egyptian officials say at least two of the three bombs that ripped through a Red Sea resort Monday were the work of suicide bombers. At least 23 people were killed, including a German child.

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The wreckage of a bicycle lay at one of the bombed restuarants in Dahab

There were at least two suicide bombers involved in the attack at the Red Sea resort of Dahab, Egyptian officials said Tuesday morning.

Egyptian television had at first denied the possibility of suicide bombings, saying the explosives were most likely remote-controlled. However, they have since reversed their opinion.

Egyptian police have detained 10 people in connection with the explosions.

Three bombs went off on Monday evening, in peak holiday season for the Red Sea beach resorts. Twenty-three people were killed, including a German child, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin confirmed. Some 62 were wounded, around 20 of them foreigners, Egyptian officials said.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said two other Germans were injured, but Berlin has yet to confirm the number.

History of attacks

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombings, the third such attack to take place in the Sinai Peninsula over the past 18 months. Multiple bombings in Sharm el-Sheikh killed about 70 people in July 2005, and at least 34 people were killed in several simultaneous attacks in and around the resort of Taba further up the Red Sea coast near the Israeli border in October, 2004.

The almost simultaneous bombings drew condemnation from world leaders and President Hosni Mubarak vowed to punish the perpetrators of these "heinous acts of terrorism."

The explosives hit the Ghazala supermarket and two restaurants in the busiest part of Dahab, a popular destination for divers and backpackers.

"Around 7 p.m., we heard three explosions close to the seafront alongside a supermarket in the center of Dahab," French tourist Frederic Mingeon told AFP news service. "There was a plume of smoke and people started running and screaming."

Foreigners killed, injured

Medical staff at the Dahab hospital was in the process of identifying more of the victims before sending them to the nearest morgue in Sharm el-Sheikh at the tip of the Sinai.

Bombenanschläge in Ägypten - Karte englisch

Dahab is a diving and beach resort on Egypt's Red Sea

French, American, British, Italian, Arab and Israeli nationals were among the injured, according to security sources. The streets of Dahab were immediately sealed off by police and Egyptian security sources said the border with Israel, which lies only around 90 miles north of Dahab, was closed to prevent the attackers from fleeing.

Officials noted the absence of craters where the bombs went off, which they said points to blasts caused by suicide bombers wearing explosives belts. Footage of the scene aired by Egyptian state television showed lumps of flesh lying in pools of blood in front of the mangled remains of shop-fronts in Dahab.

Condolences and condemnation

The attacks came a day after a new audiotape of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden surfaced. In it, bin Laden accusing the "crusaders" of the West of waging war against Islam.

Dahab was packed not only with foreign tourists, but Egyptians enjoying a public holiday. The bombers struck on Sham el-Nessim, a traditional holiday which marks the beginning of spring, and a day before Sinai Liberation Day, which celebrates Israel's withdrawal from the peninsula in 1982.

Condolences -- and harsh condemnation of the bombings -- poured in to Egypt from around the globe, including from US President George W. Bush and Israeli prime minister-designate Ehud Olmert.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw described the attacks as "appalling," and French President Jacques Chirac expressed his "consternation" and "categorically condemned these odious terrorist acts." Tourism is Egypt's main source of income: according to government figures, a record 8.6 million people visited the country in 2005 despite the deadly attacks in Sharm el-Sheikh.

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