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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Egypt arrests Sinai bomb suspects
The Taba Hilton damaged by a bomb
The resorts were popular with Israeli tourists
Five Egyptians have been arrested on charges of plotting a series of simultaneous bomb blasts in Red Sea resorts earlier this month.

At least 34 people died in three explosions at the Hilton hotel in Taba and a backpacker camping area near the resort of Nuweiba.

The Interior Ministry also identified the mastermind of the attacks as a Palestinian man, Ayad Said Salah.

It says he died in the Taba blast along with a fellow plotter.

Packed with tourists

Salah and his alleged accomplice, an Egyptian named Suleiman Ahmed Saleh, were leaving the scene when their car bomb went off prematurely, the ministry said in a statement.

Salah acted "in reaction to the deteriorating situation in the occupied territories to carry out an act targeting Israelis", it added.

Both resorts were packed with Israeli tourists who had travelled there during a Jewish holiday.

Many of the dead were Israelis, but Russians, Egyptians and Italians were also killed.

More than 100 people were reported to have been injured.

The biggest of the three attacks was at the hotel in Taba, on Egypt's border with Israel, which was heavily damaged.

The other two bombings on the evening of 7 October were in a campsite at Ras al-Shitan.

The five arrested suspects were identified as Mohamed Ahmed al-Seweirki, Ihab Mahmud Eid, Hamdan Salama Salem, Mohamed Sabbah Hussein and Mohamed Abdallah Rubaa, the AFP news agency reported.

A further two suspects, identified as Mohamed Ahmed Saleh and Hammad Gaman Gomah, were said to be still at large.


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