Investigation of Red Sea resorts explosions

Egyptian police have rounded up some 15 Sinai Bedouin on suspicion they helped smuggle in the explosives used to kill at least 32 people at Red Sea resorts frequented by Israelis, security sources have said. Investigators doubt the explosives reached the Taba area along main roads or through the Israeli-Egyptian border post at Taba because of the tight security, they said. The Bedouin nomads know the unpatrolled desert tracks of the Sinai well. "They are questioning about 15 Bedouin altogether but they have not charged any of them yet," one source said. At the main bomb site, the Hilton hotel in the border resort of Taba, Israeli search and rescue teams said they were making final checks before going home. For 24 hours they had not found any bodies under the concrete blown off the facade of the hotel. Security sources said on Sunday police had identified a green Volvo as the car which exploded in Taba on Thursday evening, causing most of the casualties. At the site of another explosion further down the coast, two people abandoned the attack vehicle when they were challenged by security, the sources said, quoting eyewitnesses. If the two bombers survived and were caught, they could provide some of the most useful information yet in a case in which Egyptian investigators have so far revealed few clues, informs Reuters. According to Seattle Post, Egyptian tourism officials insisted the three car bombs that exploded Thursday night at Sinai tourist spots at the end of a Jewish holiday would not hurt their industry, even though Israelis and the Europeans provide the bulk of the nation's $4.5 billion in&to= ' target=_blank>tourist revenues. They ruled out a repeat of the tourism crisis like one that followed a massacre of 58 foreign tourists at a pharaonic temple in Luxor in 1997 - Egypt's last major &to= ' target=_blank>terrorist strike. Hala al-Khatib, spokeswoman for Egypt's tourism ministry, said Taba - just across the border from the Israeli city of Eilat - has 2,560 hotel rooms, a tiny fraction of the 140,000 rooms in Egypt. Along with the Suez Canal, tourism is one of Egypt's top two foreign-currency earners. Last year's revenues comprised nearly 12 percent of the nation's gross domestic product and provided 2.2 million jobs, al-Khatib said. A record 6.1 million tourists visited Egypt last year, and that number already has been surpassed in the first eight months of this year, with 6.3 million visitors, she said. Nigel Hamilton, a builder merchant from Nottingham, Britain, arrived in Taba on Thursday night and was about to check into the Hilton when the bomb exploded. A Bedouin tribesman has confessed to selling explosives that might have been used in three car bombings targeting Israeli tourists, Egyptian security officials said today.

The tribesman said the buyers, whom he couldn’t identify, had told him the explosives would be used in the &to= ' target=_blank>Palestinian territories, an Egyptian investigator told The Associated Press.

“The explosives were sold on the assumption that they were going to the Palestinians,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Three car bombs, each packed with 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of explosives, exploded on Thursday night, one at the Taba Hilton just south of the Egypt-Israel border and two at a town of beach bungalows, Ras Shitan, 35 miles south on the Red Sea.

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