Series of bombings against Israeli tourists in Sinai: At least 30 dead
At least 30 people, most of them Israelis, were killed and more than 100 wounded in a series of bombing attacks at resorts in Sinai, where many Israeli tourists were staying. Israelis have visited Egypt over the past month, during the period of Jewish holidays.
A huge blast took place at the Hilton Hotel in the Egyptian resort town of Taba in the Sinai Desert on Thursday night, close to the Israeli city of Eilat. At least 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded, according to Egyptian and Israeli reports.
The Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera said that most of those hurt in the blast were Israelis.
A ceiling in the hotel collapsed following the blast, eyewitnesses said. Witnesses said there were people trapped under the ruins of the western side of the hotel.
An Israeli witness at the hotel said 30 minutes after the blast that it was on fire, and that dozens of bodies were lying on the floor.
About 45 minutes after the explosion, the first Israelis wounded in the blast had been taken to Israeli hospitals. Egypt allowed Israeli rescue workers to cross into the scene of the blast and evacuate the wounded.
Initial reports said the blast was caused by a gas cylinder. Later, it was reported the blast was caused by a car bombing attack or by a suicide bomber.
Egyptian security officials, according to The AP, said the explosion took place among gas tanks in the kitchen of the hotel, which is next to the casino where many tourists were at the time of the blast.
About two hours later, Egyptian and Israeli sources reported two other blasts in Sinai. These explosions took place in Ras al Sheitan near the Nuweiba resort, some 40 kilometers south of Taba Hotel. An eyewitness told Israel's Channel 2 TV that many Israeli tourists were in Ras al Sheitan at the time of the explosions. He said the blasts were caused by rockets, which were launched to the site. Unofficial reports said at least 40 people were wounded by the two blasts. (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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