Egypt got tip before attacks
Casinos believed to be the target
FREE PRESS NEWS SERVICES | July 27, 2005
SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt -- Two security officials said Tuesday that authorities received information of an imminent attack in Sharm el-Sheik several days before Saturday's bombings. But they believed casinos would be targeted, so security was increased around those sites, not hotels.
The officials wouldn't say where the tip came from but said headquarters in Cairo told security forces in Sharm el-Sheik to be on alert and to step up measures around key locations. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information wasn't authorized for release.
One bomber hit the Ghazala Gardens reception area, leveling the lobby. A second headed for another hotel but got caught in traffic and blew up before reaching the target. A third explosive device went off minutes after the Ghazala blast at the entrance to a beach promenade. As many as 88 people were killed in all.
Meanwhile, Egyptian officials said five Pakistanis wanted for questioning had nothing to do with the attacks and that it appeared the bombings were carried out by Egyptians.
IN BRITAIN: Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday he wouldn't "give one inch" on British policies in Iraq and the Mideast and that his government plans to toughen antiterrorism laws.
Opposition politicians warned, though, that civil liberties could be eroded by one of the powers sought by police: the right to hold suspects for three months without charge.
Police investigating last week's failed London bombings seized a car and said they were examining material from an apartment linked to an Eritrean-born Briton and a Somali who has lived in Britain since childhood.
On July 7, blasts in London killed 52 people and four bombers.
Also on Tuesday, it emerged that the operator of the subway train in which an innocent man was killed by police Friday almost met the same fate himself.
When the operator heard the shots, he started running through the tunnel for safety, representatives of the operator's union say. He was quickly pulled down by officers who held him at gunpoint, thinking he was a fleeing suspect.
IN THE UNITED STATES: Subway and commuter train riders must play a greater security role to help thwart an attack, metro transit officials told a House homeland security subcommittee hearing Tuesday.
"The most important technology that is out there ... is the human element," said William Morange, head of security for New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Paul Lennon, chief of emergency response for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority, said after the hearing that he believes a London-style attack is inevitable.
"I and my colleagues already believe that terror cells are here," he said.
IN THE PHILIPPINES: Security forces are hunting 10 would-be suicide bombers and this year foiled a plot to bomb unspecified targets by seizing 1,320 pounds of explosives, national security adviser Norberto Gonzales said Tuesday.