Arab world condemns attack in Egypt

King Abdullah calls terrorism 'Completely alien to Islamic values, traditions.'

Sinai blast 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Sinai blast 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The triple blasts that ripped through an Egyptian resort brought anguish and calls for an end to violence from Arabs across the region, many of whom questioned why Muslims have now become a prime target for terrorists. Monday's bombings shattered a long national holiday weekend in Egypt, killing at least 24 people - at least 21 of them Egyptians - and wounding more than 60 people, including three Americans. "They want to change our government and break our people," said Mustafa Mahmoud, 24, who works at a travel agency across the street from the American University of Cairo. Mohieddine Joueidi, a 51-year-old lawyer in Sidon, Lebanon, said the attacks seemed "designed to to weaken Egypt's role in the region and spread panic and terror throughout the region." In Dubai, music teacher Lara Darwazah, 31, questioned the motives of the bombers. "What message are they trying to send? What are they trying to do?" she asked. "I don't think these people care" if Muslims or Arabs are killed. "They'll carry on at any price," she added. For Jordanians, the attack was reminiscent of al-Qaida's triple blasts on Amman hotels on November 9 - also near-simultaneous attacks that claimed the lives of fellow Muslims and brought howls of outrage against al-Qaida in Iraq, which claimed responsibility for them. "The attack on Egypt brings back bad memories," said Jordanian businessman Muhannad Abul-Ghanam, 37. "Even the result is the same - mainly Muslim Arabs died and there's more public hatred toward these militants." Governments also were quick to condemn - as were radical Muslim groups who try to distance themselves from al-Qaida-like groups. Jordan's King Abdullah II said it was necessary to bolster "unified international efforts to combat this dangerous disease (terrorism), which is completely alien to our Islamic values and traditions." Bashar Assad, the Syrian president whose government is accused of harboring terrorists including insurgent Palestinians, also condemned the "criminal act." Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-run Palestinian government, called the bombings a "criminal attack which is against all human values." By contrast, Hamas had refused to condemn last week's bombing that killed nine people in an Israeli fast-food restaurant. Condemnation also came from the Muslim Brotherhood - which is officially outlawed in Egypt but has been allowed to participate in politics in recent months and whose supporters hold seats in parliament. Groups like Hamas and the Brotherhood have taken pains in recent months to distance themselves from al-Qaida and other worldwide Islamic radical groups that attack civilians, especially Muslim or Arab civilians. Egyptian authorities have not yet said who they think was behind the attacks, but other security experts have said that previous Sinai bombings have borne some marks of al-Qaida or groups affiliated with it. Muslims across the region also denounced any religious motive to the violence. "These groups, in the name of religion, justify such acts in which innocent people are killed. Does Islam call for this? Does religion encourage revenge and killings against innocent people?" asked Hassan Naboulsi, a 32-year-old Lebanese supporter of Hizbullah. Frustrated by news of Arab-on-Arab violence, one Kuwaiti kindergarten teacher said she made a decision three months ago not to watch TV or read newspapers. "I am tired of news and the problems of this world," said Elham Ali, 37. "(Terror) will not end till the day of judgment. When terrorism starts, it will not stop," she said. "The 24 people who died have families of their own or parents... this is a lot of sorrow."
Time line of attacks on Egypt
  • 2006 April 24: Three nearly simultaneous bombings hit Sinai seaside city of Dahab, killing at least 23 people and wounding more than 60.
  • 2005 July 23: Two car bombs and bomb in knapsack rip through hotel and beach promenade in Sharm el-Sheik, killing 64 people, mainly tourists.
  • April 7: Suicide bomber kills two French citizens and an American near a market.
  • 2004 October 7: Bombings in Taba and Ras Shitan resorts kill 34 people, including 11 Israelis.
  • 1997 November 17: Islamic terrorists kill 58 foreigners and four Egyptians in attack at the Pharaonic Temple of Hatshepsut outside Luxor. Police kill all six assailants.
  • September 18: Two gunmen kill nine German tourists and their driver in an attack on a tour bus outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
  • 1996 April 18: Four Islamic terrorists open fire on Greek tourists, killing 18 outside the Europa Hotel in Cairo.
  • 1994 March 4: Terrorists fire on a Nile cruise ship in southern Egypt, killing a German woman.
  • August 26: A Spanish boy is killed when militants fire at a tourist bus near Nag Hamadi in southern Egypt.
  • September 27: Terrorists opens fire in Red Sea resort of Hurghada, killing two German tourists and two Egyptians.
  • October 23: Attack on minibus near Naqada in southern Egypt kills a British man.
  • 1993 February 26: A bomb at a coffee shop in Cairo's central Tahrir Square kills three foreigners, wounds 19, including two Americans.
  • October 26: A gunman kills two Americans and a Frenchman at a Cairo hotel.