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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Rush to leave 'shocked' resort
By Lucy Williamson
BBC News, Sharm al-Sheikh

Ghazala Garden Hotel
The Ghazala Garden Hotel was destroyed in one blast
I am sitting right across from the Ghazala Gardens Hotel on Sharm al-Sheikh's main street.

The scale of the destruction to it is glaringly obvious.

The blast tore off the front of the hotel. Floors collapsed and concrete walls were sent sliding down into crumpled steel girders.

Rubble fills the entrance hall and is strewn all around outside.

I can see straight through the front of the hotel to the other side.

'Don't look'

Another blast hit just across the road at the Moevenpick Hotel, damaging a block of rooms where tourists were staying.

Lines of Egyptian security guards now mark the sites of the explosions.

Rescue teams have arrived and are sifting through the large area of rubble to try to find more casualties and the cause of the explosion.

The casualties, thought to be mostly Egyptians with some foreign holidaymakers, have all now been evacuated from the scene.

The mood here is sombre. Members of the rescue teams are asking people and pleading with journalists not to get too close, not to look too hard, and are obviously very upset by what has happened.

There are still a lot of tourists around, but many I've spoken to say that they do want to leave, and some are making preparations to do so.

In a nearby hotel I saw suitcases belonging to departing tourists stacked up.

No warning

This is obviously an attack on the tourist industry in Egypt, but it is important to remember that most of those who have died here were Egyptian workers in those hotels.

So this is a day of mourning here as well as in other countries.

Thirty-four of the dead are still unidentified.

The British authorities are saying that they cannot confirm whether any British nationals are among the dead, but they say some are among the wounded and two are missing.

They were known to be staying in the two hotels targeted by the bombs last night.

Vehicle destroyed by blast
International condemnation of the attacks has been swift
As far as we know, and according to what Egyptian authorities have said, there was no warning for these attacks.

But we have been told that there was security in place here.

Egypt is obviously no stranger to these types of attacks, especially after the blasts that killed 34 people in Taba, also on the Sinai peninsula, in October last year.

Why here?

But there is a sense of shock here, because this resort is quite some distance away from Taba, right on the southern tip of Sinai.

People really thought it was safe. It is a place where foreign politicians come to meet, to sign agreements and hold conferences.

There has been no official confirmation of who did this but there has been one claim of responsibility, as yet unconfirmed, from a group called the Abdullah Azzam Brigades of Syria and Egypt.

They say they are linked to al-Qaeda and they carried out these explosions.

But this cannot be verified, and sometimes many groups jump in to claim responsibility for these types of attacks in the aftermath.

It is only once it has been established who the perpetrators are that we can try to work out why this resort was targeted at this time.

Certainly people here have no idea why they were targeted.

And many people are saying to me that all they want to do now is go home.


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