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Death toll from Egypt blasts rises to 59 - TV
www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-23 11:14:25

Chronology of major terrorist attacks in Egypt
Backgrounder: Sharm el-Sheikh, Egyptian Red Sea resort

    CAIRO, July 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Egyptian Interior Minister Habib el-Adli said the death toll from the three bombings in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday has risen to 59, the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera Arab satellite TV channel reported.

The death toll to multiple blasts in the Egyptian tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula early Saturday rose to 49, with around 136 others injured
Emergency workers load a victim in an ambulance following an explosion in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sham el-Sheik early Saturday July 23, 2005.(Photo:CRIENGLISH.com)
    In addition, over 150 people were injured in multi-explosions.

    Egypt's state news agency MENA quoted Mustafa Afifi, governor of South Sinai province, as saying that one car bomb exploded in front of the Ghazala Hotel in Naama Bay, the site of most of the resort's luxury hotels.

    Another car bomb exploded in the old market in the heart of Sharm el-Sheikh, about 6 km from Naama Bay.

    A third explosion occurred in a car park at the entrance to Naama Bay and it could have been a bag of explosives, he added.

This file photo dated May 25, 2005, shows Egyptian tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

    So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

    Britons, French, Spaniards, Dutch, Qataris, Kuwaitis and Egyptians were among the dead and wounded, said police sources.

    Thirteen Italians and 15 other foreigners were among the wounded, said a Tourism Ministry spokeswoman.

    Police said earlier that four suspected car bombs rocked the Sharm el-Sheikh bazaar and hotels at nearby Naama Bay.

    The blasts caused huge casualties, and several foreign tourists may be among the victims, they added.

    Police sources said the first explosion took place shortly after 1 a.m. local time (2200 GMT Friday) and minutes later other explosions were heard from the direction of Naama Bay which hosts dozens of luxury hotels popular with divers and holidaymakers from Europe.

    Residents said the blasts were so powerful that the shock couldbe felt 1 km away.

    Windows closer to the blasts were blown out, fire and smoke could be seen billowing over Sharm el-Sheikh, they said.

    According to rescue teams on the scene, one of the bombs went off inside Ghazala hotel and another destroyed part of a shopping mall.

    Pan-Arab Al-Arabiya TV reported that 13 security guards and four security officials were on the list of the missing.

    The blasts occurred as the popular Sinai resort was at the peak of its summer tourist season. Tourism is a major source of revenues and employment in Egypt.

    Sharm el-Sheikh, advertised as the heart of the Red Sea riviera, is very important for Egypt's tourism and role as as Middle East peace-broker.

    Sitting at the southern tip of the Sinai desert, Sharm el-Sheikh attracts some 2 million visitors to Egypt each year, mostly from Europe and Israel.

    For years, Sharm el-Sheikh has been the favorite choice of President Hosni Mubarak to host Arab summits and foreign dignitaries.

    In 2002, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) honored the resort as a "City of Peace."

    But the city is not so peaceful.

    Bordering Israel, the Sinai Peninsula has become a sensitive location.

    On Oct. 7, 2004, Islamic militants detonated bombs in the Sinai resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan, killing 34 people, including several Israelis, and wounding more than 100.

    In January 2004, a charter flight bound for Paris plunged into the Red Sea shortly after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, killing all 148 people on board, including 133 French tourists.

    Initial investigation found that the crash was caused by engine malfunction instead of terrorism. A final report is expected laterthis year. Enditem

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