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More Than 20 Dead in Egyptian Resorts Blasts Near Israel Border - 2004-10-07


Three explosions have ripped through popular Red Sea resorts in the Egyptian Sinai late Thursday killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens more. Israeli security officials say there is growing evidence that the blasts were the result of a terror attack.

The first explosion was at the Hilton hotel in Taba, Egypt. It caused major damage to the front of the building causing at least 10 floors of the high rise building to collapse and leaving dozens of casualties on the floor of the hotel lobby. Many others are believed to be trapped in the rubble.

The hotel is only meters from the Israeli border and the nearby town of Eilat. Egyptian authorities initially closed the border but later opened it to allow Israeli ambulances and evacuation helicopters to cross to come to the aid of the wounded.

Taba is a small resort town with little in the way of emergency services. By contrast, nearby Eilat, Israel is a much larger city with several hospitals and clinics.

Initial reports suggested that the Taba blast could have been the result of a gas explosion but Israel security officials later said they believed it was the result of a car bomb. Many of the casualties were Israelis.

Taba is the main crossing point to Egypt and is often crowded with Israelis traveling to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts.

The Taba blast was followed a short time later by two explosions at resorts near Nuweiba some 100 kilometers to the south where Israelis frequently vacation in inexpensive camp grounds.

Thursday was the last day of the Jewish festival of Sukhot and large numbers of Israeli tourists have been returning home from vacations at the end of the holiday.

Israel issued a warning in early September against travel by Israelis to the area citing what the warning termed a concrete threat to Israelis.

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