ISMAILIYA: An Egyptian suspect in a 2004 terror attack denied police charges against him and told a court on Monday that he was tortured into confessing.
The defendant, Osama Al Nakhlawi, and 12 other suspects have been accused of bombing the Taba Hilton and Ras Shitan resorts in an October 2004 attack that killed 34 people, including 11 Israeli tourists.
Police Lt. Col. Mohammed Mahran, said he arrested Al Nakhlawi in Suez last September and found in his possession an automatic riffle and a knife.
Al Nakhlawi denied the allegation and said he was arrested in another town, more than 100 km away.
I was captured in Al Arish. They blindfolded me . electrocuted and beat me to extract my confessions, he said.
The judge, Ahmed Al Khashab, ordered that doctors examine all the accused for evidence of torture.
Police Capt. Mohammed Ammar said Al Nakhlawi had confessed he was also involved in the July 23 triple-bombing in the Sinai Peninsula resort of Sharm El-Sheikh that killed at least 63 people.
His role was to collect the explosives, test them in the desert and prepare the car bombs that were used in the Taba attacks, the officer said.
During court procedures Sunday, another defendant, Mustafa Hussein Mohammed, shouted from the caged dock that he had been tortured. He exposed his back to show multiple bruises and what appeared to be burn marks.
Government prosecutors say the Taba attack was part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because one of the suicide bombers, alleged mastermind Ayad Said Saleh, was a Palestinian resident in Sinai, and about a third of the fatalities were Israelis.
Last week, the government said Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had funded and trained the group responsible for the attack in Sharm El-Sheikh and in Dahab last month. The three attacks killed about 120 people.
The trial at the state security court in Ismailiya, 120 km east of Cairo, began in July last year with 15 accused, of which two were at large.
Police cornered one fugitive defendant early this month, but he was killed in the shootout. The other fugitive was captured with him and is still being interrogated.
A statement signed by a group calling itself Tawhid and Jihad (Unification and Holy War) claimed responsibility for the Sharm El-Sheikh bombings, saying it acted on orders from Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. But it was one of several conflicting claims by different groups. AP