Source Pravda.Ru

Egyptian police had clues before resort attack

Egyptian security forces had got information of an imminent attack several days before Saturday's devastating blast in Sharm el-Sheikh that left 88 dead. But they believed casinos would be targeted, so security was increased around those sites, not hotels.

The officials wouldn't say where the tip came from but said headquarters in Cairo told security forces in Sharm el-Sheikh to be on alert and to step up measures around key locations. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information wasn't authorized for release, Detroit Free Press reports.

One bomber hit the Ghazala Gardens reception area, leveling the lobby. A second headed for another hotel but got caught in traffic and blew up before reaching the target. A third explosive device went off minutes after the Ghazala blast at the entrance to a beach promenade. As many as 88 people were killed in all.

Egyptian officials said five Pakistanis wanted for questioning had nothing to do with the attacks and that it appeared the bombings were carried out by Egyptians.

"No Pakistani national was involved in the terrorist attacks that rocked Sharm el-Sheik late last Saturday," the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad was quoted as saying by CTV.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian man connected to Islamic militants has been identified as one of the suicide bombers in Saturday's attacks, after police had earlier suspected a group of Pakistani men.

An anonymous police source said Youssef Badran was responsible for the truck bomb that destroyed the Ghazala Gardens Hotel, according to the Associated Press. Badran was identified using DNA tests.

Officials say they are questioning Badran's family to find his associates.

There has so far been no direct link between the wanted men and Saturday's three pre-dawn bombings, which killed up to 88 people.

At least 140 people have been arrested for questioning, and some are believed to have been released.

Investigators are pursuing a possible connection to October's bombings in two Sinai resorts farther north, Taba and Ras Shitan, that killed 34 people, including many Israelis.

Islamic militants have frequently attacked Egypt's tourism centres in the past, targeting a $6.6-billion industry, a crucial source of government revenue. However, the culprits were always domestic groups opposed to Mr. Mubarak's regime, which is seen as pro-American and which has cracked down hard on Islamist groups.

Analysts say proof of an international connection in the Sharm el-Sheikh attacks would be a surprise.

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