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Egyptian Resort Reeling From Terrorist Bombings


The Egyptian resort town of Dahab is still reeling from the triple bombings that killed at least 23 people late Monday. Some of the dead are reported to be foreign tourists, including a German child and a Russian. As in previous terrorist attacks, most of the victims are Egyptian.

The people of Dahab took to the streets Tuesday to protest the terrorist attacks that literally left pools of blood in those same streets the night before, when three bomb explosions rocked the tiny resort town.

The protest started spontaneously, with a group of young men, and then grew to include townspeople of all ages. They carried signs hand-painted on bedsheets to match their chants - "No more blood, no more terror," and "There is no God but God".

Dahab is usually a sleepy beach town, frequented by recreational scuba divers who come for the world-famous Red Sea coral reefs.

The gentle waves roll onto the beach as a different group of scuba divers slowly walk ashore. They have had the grim task of recovering body parts, some of which were blown into the water when one of the three bombs exploded late Monday.

In the aftermath of the bombing, journalists and police officers are crowding the pockmarked streets alongside the tourists and the town's largely Bedouin residents.

A team of investigators lead by Egypt's top prosecutor is sifting through evidence in an effort to figure out who planted the bombs and how they were triggered.

The attacks occurred a day after al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden warned in a taped message that he considers Western civilians to be legitimate targets.

They fell on a holiday weekend in Egypt, when many Egyptians were enjoying a long weekend at their favorite beach resorts, including Dahab. Although there are foreign tourists among the dead and wounded, the vast majority of the casualties are Egyptians.

Restaurant employee Tamer Khair was working when the bombs went off, one of them just a few hundred meters from his café.

"I am almost certain this was not done by an Egyptian, because I do not believe an Egyptian would harm his country and his own people," he said. "People were panicking yesterday, crying for their children. This is a very sorrowful situation."

Some of the foreign tourists surveying the damage were pragmatic, saying that the attacks could have happened anywhere. German tourist Walli Miedel says she has visited the Sinai Peninsula 16 times, and will probably be back. She said she could just as easily be hurt on the ski slopes back in Germany.

"I think I will come again. If you are in the wrong place in the wrongtime, it will happen, even in Germany," she said.

Alongside the tourists, representatives of several Western embassies were combing the streets of Dahab, trying to track down their citizens.

Although this and previous terrorist attacks in Egypt have targeted tourist sites, most of the victims in Dahab were Egyptian.

The grieving and stunned family members of several victims of the blasts were on the first flight into Sinai from Cairo early Tuesday.

One man sat stony-faced and in shock. He said his mother had been killed and several other relatives injured.

Across the aisle, a young woman sat with her elderly mother, who boarded the plane leaning heavily on a cane. The young woman's brother, she said, was seriously wounded and in the hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Her mother wept for most of the flight.

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