Two suicide bombers attack north Sinai

Daily Star Egypt Staff
5 Min Read

ISMAILIA, Egypt: Two men blew themselves up in north Sinai on Wednesday, one near an airport used by an international observer force and one near the northern town of El Arish, security sources said. The bombs, which followed three deadly explosions in the east Sinai resort of Dahab on Monday, killed only the bombers, an Interior Ministry statement said. Cabinet spokesman Magdy Rady said he thought the incidents on Wednesday could be related to the bombings in Dahab. Most members of the mysterious group blamed for attacks in Sinai over the past two years came from the El Arish area. Rady made a formal denial that Interior Minister Habib El-Adli, who is responsible for internal security, had resigned over the bombings. Cabinet sources said the denial was aimed at the stock exchange, where the rumors had circulated. A spokesman for the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) group, which supervises the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, said the first bomber on Monday appeared to target two of its vehicles but there were no MFO injuries. The second man blew himself up next to a police car outside a police station in Sheikh Zuwayed, near the northern coast town of El Arish. The car was empty and there were no other casualties, the security sources said. The office of the governor of Sharkia province in the east of the Nile Delta denied reports of a third incident in the Sharkia town of Belbeis. Police sources had said a group of gunmen ambushed police in Belbeis, leading to an exchange of fire. An Interior Ministry statement gave slightly different versions of the two explosions in north Sinai and said one was by a Bedouin on a bicycle carrying a bomb. It said a police officer was leaving El Gorah airport, where the MFO has its main base, when he saw a man carrying a bomb. The bomb exploded as the officer s car passed, smashing the windscreen but causing no casualties, it said. When two police officers left the North Sinai police headquarters to investigate the first incident, the Bedouin on the bicycle tried to obstruct them with a bomb, it said. The bomb blew him up and he died and the explosion had no other effect, the statement added. Police sources had said that two policemen were injured in the first explosion. The three almost simultaneous bombs in Dahab on Monday killed 24 people, including four foreigners, and injured scores. The Dahab explosions resembled other attacks attributed to a Sinai-based group which has bombed two other resorts on the east coast over the last two years. The same group is thought to have attacked an MFO vehicle in Sinai in August, slightly injuring two Canadians. The first suicide bombing on Wednesday was near the MFO camp and airport at El Gorah, about 35 km from El Arish and close to the site of the attack in August. The MFO, which has contingents from 11 countries, was set up to supervise security provisions in the 1979 peace treaty. It patrols the Egyptian-Israeli border to ensure that the treaty is observed. The camp at El Gorah is its largest installation and the site of the commander s headquarters. Egyptian authorities attributed two earlier bombings in Sinai, in Taba in October 2004 and in Sharm El-Sheikh in July 2005, to a small Sinai-based group originally led by a man of Palestinian origin and with militant Islamist views. Police have taken in more than 30 people for questioning about the Dahab explosions but no one has been charged. Reuters

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