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Three bombs rip through Egypt resort

'Wicked terrorist attack' kills 23, wounds dozens more

story.1734.dahab.egypttv.jpg
Bystanders examine damage to shops Monday after a bomb detonated nearby in Dahab, Egypt.

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(CNN) -- Twenty-three people, including three foreigners, were killed and 62 others were wounded Monday in terrorist bombings in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Dahab, the Egyptian interior minister said.

Habib al-Adly said 42 of the wounded are Egyptian and three are members of the police.

In a written statement, he said the dead included 20 Egyptians and three foreigners -- a German child and two victims of unknown nationality. (Watch a tourist town littered by bomb debris -- 1:15)

The statement said the 20 foreigners who were wounded include three Danes, three Britons, two Italians, two Germans and one each from the United States, France, Korea, Lebanon, Israel and Australia. The nationalities of the other victims were not specified.

But in Washington, State Department officials said four Americans are among the wounded.

The blasts took place about 7:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m. ET) at two cafeterias and a supermarket. Witnesses reported seeing smoke coming from a market in the Sinai Peninsula town.

Video of the site hours later showed damaged buildings, with sidewalks outside tourist shops and restaurants covered in blood and shattered glass.

President Hosni Mubarak called the explosions "a wicked terrorist attack."

The resort town was crowded with tourists because of the Easter holiday observed Sunday by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, as well as other orthodox churches.

"There were body parts and debris in the street. ... There are ambulances and cars taking people to hospital," one witness, who refused to be identified, told the Reuters news agency.

"There is smoke coming from the area, and there are people running everywhere," Reuters quoted another witness as saying.

One witness, Serge Loussararian of Cairo, told CNN he was about 300 feet away when the explosions occurred. He said the blasts went off in a tourist area in front of hotels, restaurants and bars on the beach.

"We heard the three explosions," he said. "It was quite loud."

Then, he said, he saw people running. At the time the explosions occurred, he said, the area was "very, very busy."

After the explosions, Loussararian said, he and those with him are leaving Dahab. He said he has seen several vehicles carrying the injured, as well as people going to donate blood and help the wounded.

People hurt in the explosions were taken to hospitals in Dahab and the nearby resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, state-run Nile Television reported.

Mubarak vowed to punish those responsible for the blasts and expressed his condolences to victims' family members, Nile Television said.

In July, 67 people were killed and more than 200 others wounded in Sharm el-Sheikh. Egyptian officials believe Bedouin residents of Sinai with connections to al Qaeda were responsible for those incidents. (Full story)

In October 2004, 34 people were killed in attacks on the Sinai resorts of Taba and Ras al Sultan. (Full story)

Each of those attacks also involved three explosions.

Israeli ambulance services, meanwhile, beefed up their presence on the border with Egypt, and a hospital in Eilat was getting extra blood supplies, officials said. Israeli medical services offered help to Egypt.

Chorus of condemnation

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas released a statement condemning the terrorist act as "cowardly and criminal" and offering his condolences to Mubarak and the Egyptian people.

Ehud Olmert, Israeli prime minister-designate, called Mubarak to offer his condolences and those of Israelis. The two leaders discussed the need to work together to fight terrorism, according to Olmert's office. Israel shares a border with the Sinai Peninsula.

In Amman, Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh joined the chorus of condemnation, calling the acts "another tragic and horrific example for the need to have a collective effort of the international community to combat terrorism."

President Bush, at a fundraiser for Rep. Jon Porter in Las Vegas, Nevada, said, "I strongly condemn the killings that took place."

"The innocent life lost in Egypt is a heinous act against innocent civilians," Bush said.

"I assure the enemy this: We will stay on the offense," he said. "We will not waiver."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a written statement that U.S. officials "have been in contact with the Egyptian government to extend our condolences and to offer whatever assistance they may need."

The explosions Monday came one day after an audiotape believed to be from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden denounced a "crusader-Zionist war" against Islam and held Western citizens -- not just their governments -- responsible. (Full story)

CNN's Ben Wedeman, Caroline Faraj and Michal Zippori contributed to this report.

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