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Terror strikes in Egypt

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Egyptian security officials say the tough tactics they'd used on militants in the 1990s - and a pledge to renounce violence that extracted from the country's militant groups - had removed most of the terror threats inside the country, and said further attempts were unlikely. Thousand's of residents on the Sinai peninsula, particularly around the city of Al-Arish, were rounded up after the Taba arrest, and a trial for men linked to that blast was scheduled to resume on Monday.

A statement was posted on an Islamic website by Abdullah Azzam Brigades, al-Qaeda, in Syria and Egypt, laying claim to Saturday's attacks, the Associated Press news agency reported, although the claim has not been verified.

Many analysts have said they suspect that there were separate cells involved in the earlier attack on Taba, which Israeli officials said they strongly suspected had links to Al Qaeda, and the more amateurish efforts in Cairo.

"There are two running problems here" says Stacher. "The Cairo-based group have a domestic political and economic agenda, whereas the Sinai attacks probably show anger at Egyptian foreign policy and its regional role, whether that's anger at the improving relationship with Israel or at Egypt's efforts to help the US in Iraq."

The well-made bombs and professionally executed attacks on the city most wealthy Egyptian's refer to affectionately as "Sharm," and where President Hosni Mubarak keeps his principal home, highlight an expanding security problem for Egypt. The attack happened less than three miles from the Mubarak compound, in a place were security roadblocks frequently check cars coming in and out of the city.

"The forces of terrorism won't stop Egypt from achieving development and we won't let anyone threaten the country's stability," said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who visited the bombing sites.

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