Blasts shake Egyptian resort killing 23

CAIRO - Three explosions shook the Egyptian Sinai resort of Dahab early today, killing at least 23 people and wounding around 60 people, a security official said.

Witnesses said smoke could be seen rising from the town's tourist bazaar, and residents said they saw body parts and debris on the street after an explosion at a restaurant.

An official with the local ambulance service said many of the dead appeared to be foreigners.

There have been several attacks in Egypt's Sinai peninsula in the last two years. Dahab, a beach and diving centre popular with foreign tourists including Israelis, lies between Taba and Sharm el-Sheikh where dozens of people were killed in bombings in 2004 and 2005.

"There is smoke coming from the area and there are people running everywhere," said one witness, who did not want to be named. The explosions were heard about 7.15pm local time (2.15am NZT) on Monday, part of a five-day spring holiday in Egypt, the witness said.

"There were body parts and debris in the street ... There are ambulances and cars taking people to hospital," said another resident who also did not want to be named.

One visitor said cars and buses leaving the resort were being stopped by police.

Officials in neighbouring Israel said they were unaware of any Israeli casualties in the explosions.

Last July, at least 60 people, including foreigners, were killed and more than 200 were wounded when two car bombs and a suitcase bomb ripped through hotels and shopping areas in Sharm el-Sheikh, on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula.

In October 2004, bombings at the Taba Hilton hotel on Egypt's border with Israel and two beaches further south killed 34 people.

- REUTERS

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