2005 Sharm El Sheikh bombings
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|2005 Sharm El Sheikh bombings|
|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|
|Perpetrators||Abdullah Azzam Brigades
The 2005 Sharm El Sheikh bombings were a series of terrorist attacks perpetrated by an Islamist organization on 23 July 2005 in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El Sheikh, located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Eighty-eight people were killed as a result of the attacks, the majority of them Egyptians, and over 200 were injured, making the attack the deadliest terrorist action in Egypt's history.
The attack took place on Egypt's Revolution Day, a public holiday in Egypt, and was part of a strategy of hurting Egypt's economy by disrupting tourism, a major industry.
After the attacks, many arrests took place, 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.
Historically, foreign tourists have been a common target of attacks since 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 attacks was the November 1997 Luxor massacre, in which 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians died. The 2004 Sinai bombings killed 34 people in October in Taba, also on the Sinai Peninsula. In the April 2005 Cairo terrorist attacks three foreign tourists were killed.
Unlike the October 2004 Taba attacks, the Sharm El Sheikh 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 was injured.
The attacks took place in the early morning, at a time when many tourists and locals were still out at restaurants, cafés and bars. The first bomb blast took place at 1:15 am Egypt summer time (22:15 UTC) 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. The second bomb was hidden in a suitcase and exploded outside the Moevenpick Hotel, killing six tourists. 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 the blast.
The blasts were powerful, shaking windows miles away. Fire and smoke could be seen rising from the explosion sites.
The official government toll a few days after the attacks was put at 64, but hospitals reported that 88 people had been killed. The majority of dead and injured were Egyptians. Among those killed were 11 Britons, two Germans, six Italians, four Turks, one Czech, one Israeli, and one American. Other casualties, dead and injured, included foreign visitors from France, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Russia, and Spain.
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.
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.
The Egyptian government said that the bombers were Bedouin militants from the same group that carried out the 2004 Sinai bombings in Taba. Arrested suspects claimed to have been motivated by the War in Iraq.
- מצרים בונה גדר ביטחון סביב שארם א-שייח – וואלה! חדשות (in Hebrew). News.walla.co.il. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
- "Xinhua – English". News.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
- "Londoner relives bomb horror on Egypt holiday – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)" (in Polish). Abc.net.au. 23 July 2005. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
- East, Middle (25 July 2005). "Police question dozens over Egypt bombings. 25/07/2005. ABC News Online". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
- "Egypt Gets Tough in Sinai in Wake of Resort Attacks". Washingtonpost.com. 2 October 2005. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
- Williams, Daniel (8 October 2006). "Red Sea Resort Attacks Show Threat of 'Decentralized' Terrorism". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
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