Egypt blames same Bedouin group for all Sinai attacks

Daily Star Egypt Staff
4 Min Read

CAIRO: Egypt blamed suicide attacks in the Sinai Peninsula this week on local Bedouins linked to an Islamic radical group also responsible for other bloody bombings in Red Sea resorts in the past 18 months. The information indicates that the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks that occurred in Dahab and Al-Gura are Sinai bedouins, nterior Minister Habib El-Adly told state television late Wednesday. They also have connections to previous incidents in Taba and Sharm El-Sheikh, the minister said after five suicide bombers struck within 48 hours in the peninsula. Three suicide bombers struck almost simultaneously in the heart of the popular Red Sea resort of Dahab on Monday, killing at least 24 people and wounding up to 150. On Wednesday, two suicide bombers targeted security personnel from the Multinational Force and Observers and Egyptian police further north in the Sinai, causing no injuries. Security officials and state-owned newspapers had said investigators believed the attacks were perpetrated by Bedouins from northern Sinai, which is where the MFO is stationed, close to 400 km north of Dahab. Egypt accuses a group called Tawhid wal Jihad (Unification and holy war) of carrying out the July 2005 Sharm El-Sheikh attacks that killed more than 60 people and multiple bombings further up the coast that left 34 dead in October 2004. Tawhid wal Jihad was the name of Islamic extremist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi s organization before it was renamed Al-Qaeda in Iraq in late 2004. Adly said security reinforcements were dispatched to Sinai, a vast desert and mountainous expanse inhabited mainly by Bedouin tribes. Previous attacks in Sinai were followed by tough crackdowns and thousands of arrests in the peninsula. The Dahab attacks came a day before Sinai Liberation Day, a public holiday which celebrates Israel s 1982 withdrawal from the peninsula, in what many analysts saw as evidence that the perpetrators were from a local group with an Egyptian agenda. The Sharm El-Sheikh and October 2004 attacks also were timed to coincide with key dates in Egyptian history. The most common hypothesis put forward by security experts and commentators is that of a new home-grown Islamist cell that could be an Al-Qaeda franchise, without necessarily receiving direct support from Osama bin Laden s network. Preliminary findings from the investigation revealed that the bombs used in the Dahab attacks were rudimentary and made with materials locally available. However, the state-owned daily Al Ahram quoted security sources as saying that the same group responsible for the Sinai bombings was planning attacks against Israelis and Americans in Iraq. Investigators have been running DNA tests to match body parts with ID cards found on the scene of some of the explosions. In other developments, security sources and witnesses said that unidentified individuals attacked Wednesday a police post in Belbeis, northeast of Cairo, causing no injuries. However, the interior ministry issued a statement denying the incident had happened. AFP

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