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October 25, 2004
Just A Little Too Convenient

Egypt claims that the mastermind of the Taba bombing inadvertently killed himself in the attack's biggest blast, the AP reports tonight:

A Palestinian refugee plotted the coordinated bombings targeting Israeli tourists at resorts in the Sinai and accidentally killed himself while carrying out the deadliest blast, Egyptian authorities said Monday.

Discounting the theory of al-Qaida involvement, an Interior Ministry statement said Ayad Said Saleh was motivated by the deteriorating situation in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, which his relatives fled in 1967, and carried out the attack with the help of local residents.

But security officials speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press they believed the Oct. 7 attacks on the Taba Hilton and two beach camps packed with Israelis may have been carried out with help from Islamic groups based outside Egypt, though not necessarily Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida group.

It certainly makes Egypt's investigation easier if they can lay the entire enterprise on a dead Palestinian and not, say, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or an al-Qaeda operative. One of the latter conclusions would lead to uncomfortable questions as to how badly infiltrated the Egyptian security apparatus has become with Islamic terrorists, or at the least call into question their competency. No, having a dead man at the head of the operation makes everything a lot simpler for Hosni Mubarak.

Of course, one question that would go unanswered is how a Palestinian terrorist freedom fighter got so much explosive into Egypt, and why he decided to attack Egyptian assets rather than an Israeli target.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 25, 2004 6:22 PM

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