Egypt links palestinian to attack not alqaeda
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Posted on Tue, Oct. 26, 2004
Egypt links Palestinian to attack, not al-Qaeda
By Salah Nasrawi
CAIRO, Egypt - A Palestinian refugee plotted the coordinated bombings targeting Israeli tourists at resorts in the Sinai and accidentally killed himself while carrying out the deadliest blast, Egyptian authorities said yesterday.
Discounting the theory of al-Qaeda involvement, an Interior Ministry statement said that Ayad Said Saleh was motivated by the deteriorating situation in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, which his relatives fled in 1967, and that he carried out the attack with the help of local residents.
Security officials, on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press they believed the Oct. 7 attacks on the Taba Hilton and two beach camps packed with Israelis may have been carried out with help from Islamic groups based outside Egypt, though not necessarily Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda group.
One car bomb devastated the Hilton hotel in Taba, yards from the Israeli border; two others rocked tourist camps at Ras Shitan, a village 35 miles farther south, killing a total of 34, including Israelis, Egyptians, Italians and Russians.
Egypt's Interior Ministry said the attacks were masterminded by Saleh, a minibus driver born in the northern Sinai town of al-Arish, who was in his early 20s. Saleh was killed in the Hilton bombing along with a fellow alleged plotter, Egyptian Suleiman Ahmed Saleh Flayfil, 39.
The statement said that both men, identified through DNA testing, had been trying to leave the attack scene but that their timed explosives went off prematurely.
Two suspects were said to be at large: Mohamed Ahmed Saleh Flayfil, Suleiman Flayfil's brother, and Hammad Gaman Gomah Tarabeen. They were accused of carrying out the campground attacks.
Police also arrested five Egyptians accused of playing lower-level roles, including obtaining explosives and cars used in the attacks. The statement did not say when they were arrested or provide details of their capture.
The five are residents of the Sinai Peninsula, a territory Israel captured from Egypt in the 1967 war and returned in 1982 under terms of an Israeli-Arab peace treaty.
The Interior Ministry said the three cars used in the bombings were stolen and the explosives were salvaged from war armaments in the Sinai.
A senior Egyptian official close to the investigation told the Associated Press that TNT obtained from a Sinai quarry and RDX explosives from war armaments were used in the attacks. RDX is a key ingredient in plastic explosives such as C-4 and Semtex.
Other officials and prosecutors said 1,100 pounds of TNT were used in the Taba attack, while leftover munitions from the Sinai war were planted in two cars used in the Ras Shitan bombings.