Friday, October 08, 2004
Let me first tell you a little bit about Taba. It is a small magnificent resort located on the Egypt-Israel border. I've been there once and it is one of the most beautiful areas I've ever been too. The resort itself is pretty small and the beautiful Hilton hotel there is its only major destination, yet what is so special about Taba is that it enables you to see 4 countries while you're sunbathing on the beach. From Taba you can see Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and of course Egypt. Whenever I hear the word Taba I always remember my dad pointing his finger to the lands far away and telling me their names.
Well, the terrorist attack will have terrible effects in Egypt, most notably the effect on tourism, Egypt's number one source of hard currency. I really pray that the effect won't be devastating. Luckily, the attacks were not in major Sinai resorts like Sharm El Sheikh. It is clear that Israeli tourists were the main target because they usually frequent the three locations (Taba, Nuiba, Ras Al Shaytan) where the attacks occurred.
Now who did it? I don't believe it was the 2 main Palestinian groups (Hamas and Jihad). Those groups have relations with the Egyptian government that maintains a line of communication with them. They won't jeopardize this relation by carrying out a terrorist attack on Egyptian soil.
I also do not believe it was the works of Egypt's 2 main homegrown terror groups (Jihad and Gamaa Islamiya). These 2 groups were severely hurt by Egypt's ruthless anti-terrorism security forces and they declared sometime ago that they would cease using violence.
My only estimation is Al-Qaeda with the help of Egyptian and/or Palestinian terrorists who do not belong to the organizations we know. However, the level of organization and technicality that this attack required indicate that the attackers were indeed sophisticated.
Well, why am I surprised? Is Egypt better than Madrid, Bali, Istanbul, Riyadh, and New York?