2005 Sharm el-Sheikh attacks

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2005 Sharm el-Sheikh attacks
Part of Terrorism in Egypt
Location Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Date 23 July 2005
01:15 am – 01:20 am (UTC+3)
Target A market in downtown Sharm and the Ghazala Gardens hotel
Attack type
Suicide bombings
Deaths 64-88
Non-fatal injuries
~ 150
Perpetrators Abdullah Azzam Brigades
Bedouin militants

The 2005 Sharm el-Sheikh attacks were a series of terror attacks on 23 July 2005, perpetrated by an Islamist organization, targeting the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Eighty-eight people were killed, the majority of them Egyptians, and over 200 were wounded by the blasts, making the attack the deadliest terrorist action in the country's history.

The bombings coincided with Egypt's Revolution Day, which commemorates Nasser's 1952 overthrow of King Farouk. They were intended to hurt one of Egypt's most important vacation spots, a tourism capital that had billions of dollars invested in it, and achieved that goal as it was registered that many tourists vacated and there were numerous cancellations.[citation needed]

As a response, there were many arrests, especially of the Bedouin in the Sinai who allegedly aided the attack, and Egypt started erecting a separation barrier around the city, cutting it off from possible attacks and the nearby Bedouin community.[1]

Background[edit]

Historically, foreign tourists have been a common target of attacks dating back to the early 1990s. Militants have typically been motivated by a combination of Qutbism and opposition to the Mubarak government, and attacking foreigners including non-Muslims while hurting Egypt's tourist trade was seen as serving both goals.

The most bloody attack prior to the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings was the November 1997 Luxor massacre, in which 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians died. In October 2004, a series of bomb attacks killed 34 people in Taba, also on the Sinai Peninsula. In April 2005 Cairo was hit by two days of terrorist violence, in which three foreign tourists were killed.

Unlike the October 2004 attacks, this attack does not appear to have been directed in particular against Israelis, for whom Sharm is a popular destination. However, one Israeli Arab was killed and another, Saneh Hussein, was injured.

Explosions[edit]

The attacks took place in the early morning hours, at a time when many tourists and locals were still out at restaurants, cafés and bars. The first bomb blast, at 01:15 Egypt summer time (22:15 UTC), happened at the Old Market bazaar in downtown Sharm el-Sheikh, killing 17 people, mostly Egyptians. The bomber had to abandon his truck bomb in the market because of a police roadblock.[2] The second bomb was hidden in a suitcase and exploded outside the Moevenpick Hotel, killing six tourists.[3] The final bomb was a truck bomb that was driven into the lobby of the Ghazala Gardens hotel, a 176-room four-star establishment in the Naama Bay area, a strip of beachfront hotels some 6 km from the town centre. About 45 people died in this blast.[4]

The blasts were powerful, shaking windows miles away. Fire and smoke could be seen rising from the explosion sites.

Casualties[edit]

Sharm el-Sheikh is located on the coast of the Red Sea, at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula.

While the official government toll a few days after the blast was put at 64, hospitals reported that 88 people had been killed in the bombings.

The majority of dead and wounded casualties were Egyptians. Among those killed were 11 Britons, two Germans, six Italians, four Turks, one Czech, one Israeli, and one American.[5] Other casualties, dead and wounded, included foreign visitors from France, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Russia, and Spain.[6]

The then UK prime minister, Tony Blair, holidays in Sharm el-Sheikh and it is reported to be his favourite holiday destination. Former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak also has a holiday home in the region.[7]

Responsibility[edit]

A group calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades was the first to claim responsibility for the attacks. On a website the group stated that "holy warriors targeted the Ghazala Gardens hotel and the Old Market in Sharm el-Sheikh" and claimed it has ties to Al-Qaeda.[8]

The Egyptian government said that the bombers were Bedouin militants from the same group that carried out the bombings in Taba a year before.[9] Arrested suspects claimed to have been motivated by the War in Iraq.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "מצרים בונה גדר ביטחון סביב שארם א-שייח - וואלה! חדשות" (in Hebrew). News.walla.co.il. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ [3][dead link]
  5. ^ [4][dead link]
  6. ^ "Xinhua - English". News.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  7. ^ "Londoner relives bomb horror on Egypt holiday - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)" (in Polish). Abc.net.au. 2005-07-23. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  8. ^ East, Middle (2005-07-25). "Police question dozens over Egypt bombings. 25/07/2005. ABC News Online". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  9. ^ "Egypt Gets Tough in Sinai In Wake of Resort Attacks". Washingtonpost.com. 2005-10-02. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  10. ^ Williams, Daniel (2006-10-08). "Red Sea Resort Attacks Show Threat of `Decentralized' Terrorism". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°51′35″N 34°16′57″E / 27.8598°N 34.2824°E / 27.8598; 34.2824