- Al-Qaeda played no part in bomb attacks that targeted
Israeli tourists on the Sinai peninsula in October, Egypt's interior minister
- Israeli officials had linked al-Qaeda to three blasts
at Egyptian Red Sea resorts that killed at least 34 people.
- Egypt's Interior Minister Habib al-Adli has said the
attacks were instead fuelled by a cycle of desperation and violence in
the Palestinian areas.
- Five Egyptians are in custody for their alleged role
in aiding the bombings.
- 'No external link'
- Mr Adli said al-Qaeda's involvement in the attacks had
been ruled out on the basis of confessions made by the suspects and evidence
gathered by the security services.
- The five men arrested so far are accused of obtaining
cars and explosives for the attacks, one of which was aimed at the Hilton
hotel in the Egyptian resort of Taba while the other two targeted backpackers'
camps at the Ras al-Shitan resort.
- "Investigations did not point out any link between
the executing group and any organisation whether inside or outside to cells
belonging to al-Qaeda," Mr Adli said.
- A Palestinian man from Egypt and an Egyptian man from
the Bedouin community masterminded the attacks, according to the Egyptian
- Both men are said to have died in the explosion which
wrecked the Taba Hilton hotel on 7 October.
- Two men implicated in the Ras al-Shitan bombings are
still being hunted by the police.
- Israeli evidence
- Mr Adli said the attacks reflected "the current
cycle of violence in the Palestinian territories and feelings of frustration
and hopelessness resulting from it".
- However, Israel has again asserted al-Qaeda had a hand
in the Egypt attacks.
- Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told an Egyptian newspaper
there was evidence linking them to Osama Bin Laden's militant network "whether
directly or indirectly".
- Egypt has meanwhile announced new measures to revive
tourism - a bulwark of its economy - in the Red Sea region.
- Arrival taxes for Israeli overland visitors have been
suspended and some charter airlines serving the airport near Taba will
be eligible for financial aid from the government, Egyptian officials said.
- © BBC MMIV http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3972635.stm