Three explosions rock Egypt's Sinai resort city of Dahab, at least 22 killed

Three terrorist bombs hit the Egyptian resort of Dahab at the height of the tourist season Monday, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 150 in the third terror strike on a Sinai resort in less than two years.

The attackers struck a day after al-Qaida chieftain Osama bin Laden issued a taped warning that ordinary Western citizens had become legitimate targets of his terrorist organization because of their support of governments that he said were conducting a "crusader war against Islam."

President Hosni Mubarak, whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism, said the blasts were a "sinful terrorist action."

Police said the explosions hit the central part of the city at 7:15 p.m. when the streets would have been jammed with holidaymakers strolling the streets, shopping or looking for a restaurant or bar for evening festivities.

Hotels and guesthouses would have been full not only of foreigners but also Egyptians who were celebrating the long Coptic Christian Easter weekend that coincided this year with Shem al-Nessim, the ancient holiday marking the first day of spring.

The Sinai Peninsula is popular with Israeli tourists and that country's rescue service said at least three citizens were among the wounded.

Security officials, who would not allow use of their names because they were not authorized to release information, said at least 22 bodies had been recovered. Dr. Muhammed Hussein at the Dahab International Hospital said 12 bodies and 23 people with serious injuries had been brought to his emergency room alone.

Terrorist attacks have killed nearly 100 people at several tourist resorts in the Sinai Peninsula in the past two years.

Bombings in the resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan, near the Israeli border, killed 34 people in October 2004. Suicide attackers in July in the resort of Sharm el-Sheik killed at least 64 people, mainly tourists.

The Egyptian government has said the militants who carried out the bombings were locals without international connections, but other security agencies have said they suspect al-Qaida.

In Washington, a U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in compliance with office policy, said that it is unclear who was behind the attacks, reports AP.

O.Ch.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team