Investigators in Egypt are sifting through bomb debris in a search for clues as to who was behind Tuesday’s blasts that left 18 people dead. A security source has revealed that 10 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks at the Sinai beach resort of Dahab.
The three near-simultaneous blasts injured more than 60 people.
Authorities now believe that time-bombs were set off, sidelining the theory of suicide bombers.
At about 7pm local time, two explosions hit Dahab’s seaside promenade which islined with restaurants, cafes and shops. Moments later, a third went off in a nearby shopping street.
The resort is particularly busy at this time of year, crowded with tourists from Egypt and abroad. Although authorities have revised the death-toll downwards, they now say that six foreigners including a young German boy are among the dead. This is the third bomb attack targeting Egypt’s Red Sea resorts in two years. It bears the hallmark of the previous attacks by local militants.
Seeing their livelihoods threatened by the bombings, the people of Dahab held a protest calling for the violence to stop.
With harrowing images of destruction and misery beamed around the world, it is unclear what impact these latest bombings will have on Egypt’s tourism industry.
Dahab, a popular resort for diving, welcomes up to 100,000 visitors a year.
Tourism employs around 10 per cent of the nation’s work force and the industry generates more than five and a half billion euros annually – making it vital for the economy.
Despite the carnage, many holidaymakers are said to have decided to stay on. Others, however, are still making up their minds.
“It is horrible, horrible stuff. At the moment we are not sure what we are going to do,” said an Australian tourist.
“It was almost a bit unreal last night because there was a lot of blood,” said a Scottish holidaymaker.
“We are trying to do the best we can right now. I just don’t know what I am going to do – whether I am going to stay or whether I am going to go.”
Contrary to expectations, past militant bombings in 2004 and 2005 targeting Egyptian Red Sea resorts did not cause a fall in visitors but in fact saw numbers rise.