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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Israeli papers consider blast implications
Israeli press graphic

Press commentators in Israel have been quick to speculate about the overnight explosions at Egypt's Red Sea resorts.

While opinions differ about who could be responsible, the papers agree that the blasts are likely to have long-lasting repercussions for the region.

Once the rescue ends, really major questions will arise about the implications for the situation in the region of the bloody night in Egypt. If what we have is a terrorist attack from the creative house of al-Qaeda, it will be very difficult to find an address for the response. But if Hamas is indeed responsible for the terrorist attack, the significance would be strategic indeed. Not less. The fact that the terrorist attacks would have far-reaching implications stems from the fact that they are attacking at the same time both Israel and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptians will find it difficult to show restraint in relation to the blow and the humiliation. Israel will certainly not let it pass.

Amir Rapaport in Ma'ariv

A terrorist attack of such magnitude is a complicated option for Palestinian terrorism, which would need a network of helpers and logistics in Sinai. The tunnels in Rafah are indeed two-way and a suicide bomber or an explosive charge could come out of the Gaza Strip with the same ease that arms are smuggled from Egypt. Yet in order to prepare a booby-trapped truck and drive it to Taba there is a need for a secret network on Egyptian soil to gather intelligence and assist the terrorists. The Egyptian terrorist organisations have such a network. If the Palestinians did carry it out, the possibility that they were helped by local terrorists should be examined.

Amir Cohen in Ma'ariv

The tendency to attribute the attacks to Hamas appears reasonable in view of the war between the Israel Defense Forces and the Islamic organisation in the Gaza Strip and the high number of casualties in the current fighting. But bombings such as these in Taba require lengthy preparation... The other possibility is that a radical Islamic organisation, either independent or affiliated with al-Qaeda, decided to take action to achieve a number of goals - inflicting as many Israeli casualties as possible, spoiling the relations between Israel and Egypt, having Israel blame Egypt for its intelligence and operational helplessness, and dealing Egypt an economic blow. The pattern of coordinated attacks is typical of radical supranational organisations.

Zvi Barel in Ha'aretz

Until today Egypt did not have a real reason to operate on the other side of Gaza. The Egyptians spoke well, promised not a little, and began to act here and there but they have not started real work yet. Why should they care if Israel continues to bleed: the conflict remains on a low burner so that the masses at Cairo University would have something to vent their anger on. From today (if indeed what we have here is a Palestinian terrorist attack) they have one. Now they are also bleeding, not to speak of the heavy financial loss caused by the halt of Israeli tourism for the near future.

Ben Kaspit in Ma'ariv

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