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Egypt not properly investigating hotel bombs

*** Three hotels were blown-up in Egypt at the weekend, but the Egyptian regime is not investigating properly. The mass media has universally embraced claims that Muslim extremists were responsible, and playing down the fact that the victims were all Arabs and Muslims which would be consistent with an operation by the Israeli secret service, Mossad. Furthermore, it is now clear that official reports from Egypt and mass media coverage in the West, particularly the UK, exaggerated the death toll and created false impressions of a connection with the recent bombings in London by emphasising that the area is visited by British tourists and claiming that there were British victims despite the absence of any supporting evidence. This is the familiar pattern that one expects with terrorist attacks against the USA and its allies. ***

Confusion surrounded Egypt's investigation of the Sharm el Sheikh bombings yesterday as the authorities reduced its estimate of the death toll from 88 to 64 and admitted they had no evidence to back claims two Britons had died.

More than 70 local people were arrested yesterday although the Egyptian police made no public comment about the state of the investigation.

An opportunity to glean potentially valuable forensic information from the sites of the three bomb blasts was lost, after it took hours for the police to secure the area.

It gave the impression of a chaotic and muddled investigation similar to the one carried out by Egypt following last October's bombing of hotels in the nearby resort of Taba.

That led to more than 3,000 arrests and many of those detained later complained they were tortured and maltreated.

The latest bombings all happened within a few minutes of each other around 1am on Saturday, Egypt's national day.

The first blast was believed to be caused by a relatively small bomb carried in a bag which was detonated, possibly by timer, in a car park full of taxis on the edge of a shopping area in the resort's Naama Bay area.

Mark Chilton, 45, a former corporal in the Royal Corps of Signals who now works as a diving instructor in the resort, was drinking in a local bar, Charlie's Tavern, when the bomb went off.

He said he took control of the scene before the local emergency services appeared but was too late to save one man lying on the ground.

''He died just as I got to him,'' Mr Chilton said. ''I tried to do CPR [artificial respiration] and as I felt the air I was breathing into his mouth coming out of the back of his head. The back of his head was missing.''

Moments later a car loaded with explosives crashed through a security barrier outside the nearby Ghazala Gardens Hotel. It exploded as it smashed into the foyer, bringing down much of the hotel facade.

Another car bomb caused the third blast next to a crowded shopping centre in the centre of the old village of Sharm el Sheikh. The streets were packed with late-night shoppers.

Leaving a crater four feet deep and 15 feet across, the bomb sent shards of shrapnel scything through the crowd. The death toll here was believed to be the highest, leading to early reports that 88 people had died.

But sources at the International Hospital, the main medical facility in the town, later said that 62 people had been killed by the blasts and another two had died overnight from wounds. This was later confirmed by Tourism Ministry. The same sources reported that 57 Egyptians had died along with seven non-Egyptians, comprising one Czech, one Italian and five from unknown European countries.

This led to reports that two Britons had been killed, although Foreign Office officials could offer no confirmation. ''At this time we have no confirmation of any British deaths.''

Two Britons, a 14-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man, remained on the critical list last night.


Daily Telegraph, "70 held as police hunt is thrown into confusion", 14 July 2005.

"The Insider" mailing list article, 25 July 2005.

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Tags: Egypt, bombs, hotel, bombings, hotels, bombed, victims, Arabs, Muslims, British, killed, al-Qaeda, Mossad, , conspiracy theories.

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