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Egypt Hunts for Bombing Perpetrators

  • Michael Bowman

Egyptian security officers have conducted raids and detained dozens of potential suspects in Sharm al-Sheikh. After visiting the blast site, a resolute President Hosni Mubarak said the attacks will make Egypt more determined than ever to pursue terrorism and "dig it out by the roots."

With many tourists departing, and security officials streaming in, Sharm al-Sheikh is a different town than it was days ago. Video images show empty restaurants and deserted shops.

One store owner said, aside from the human tragedy, there will be a heavy financial price to pay, as the resort relies on tourism.

"Life in Egypt now is difficult," he said. "I come here to work, to make good business. I cannot believe [what has happened]. This is a big, big problem."

Another shop owner said flatly, "business is finished here."

Some security and terrorism analysts have speculated about a likely connection between the blasts in Egypt and recent attacks on London's rail and bus system.

But, speaking on the CBS program Face the Nation, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez suggested no one should jump to any conclusions.

"We are obviously looking carefully at the events in London and Egypt, and working with the British and Egyptian authorities to offer up our assistance with the investigation," he said. "But it is really too early to tell whether or not this is a coordinated effort. But what I can say is, the success of the American military and our allies, because of activities here at home, we have made it much more difficult for al-Qaida to operate, and serve as a threat here, domestically."

But Arizona Republican Senator John McCain said he believes further terrorist plots will be attempted in the United States.

Speaking on ABC's This Week program, Mr. McCain said the recent attacks in London and Egypt show that the war on terrorism must be prosecuted with utmost vigor, and that, in particular, U.S.-led efforts in Iraq must succeed.

"The moral of the story is that you have got to go where they [the terrorists] are, and that is why, not failing in Iraq now is so important," he said. "You could argue that, under Saddam Hussein, it was not a hotbed - as a training place - for terrorism. Now, if we fail in Iraq, I do not think there is any doubt who would take over."

Senator McCain added that Pakistan should be pressured to rein in Islamic extremist elements that may have influenced the perpetrators of the London attacks. But he cautioned against undermining Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, worrying that any successor government might gravitate toward Islamic fundamentalism and extremism.

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