07/27/2005, 00.00
EGYPT
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Pakistani connection discounted as new suspects appear in Sharm al-Sheikh bombings.

Police are looking for members of an Egyptian cell linked to al-Zarqawi. There are strong similarities with last October's attack in Taba.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Egyptian investigators have found connections between the suicide bombings in Sharm al-Sheikh and the attacks last October in the northern Sinai resort of Taba. As it stands, the investigation rules out any involvement by the six Pakistanis whose passports were found in one of the bombed hotels. Instead, investigators are now focusing on the Tawid al-Jihad group headed by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"It is very likely that the latest explosions in Sharm el-Sheikh and those in Taba are closely linked," a senior Egyptian security official said.

Meanwhile, health ministry sources report that at least 67 people including 16 foreigners were killed in Saturday's bombings. In Taba in October, 34 died.
The security official also pointed to similarities in timing, the choice of target and explosives used in both attacks. For Egypt's Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, the two series of attacks are also connected.

Egyptian security forces have been sweeping the Sinai Peninsula looking for four suspects among local Bedouins: Moussa Badran, Ihab Mohamed Rabia, Osama al-Nakhlawi and Khaleid Musaid.

Suspicion has especially fallen on Moussa Badran who, the police believe, was the one who drove the truck that wrecked the Ghazala Gardens Hotel. And a family member said that he fled his family home in northern Sinai soon after the attacks.

Police have taken DNA samples from the suspects' families as they seek to identify the remains of the suicide bombers.

Investigators are also giving more weight to one of the three claims of responsibility that have so far been made, that by Tawid al-Jihad, which appeared on a website often used by al-Qaeda's Iraqi branch.

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