EL-ARISH, Egypt:: A suspected militant has confessed to a role in planning deadly bombings in three tourist resorts in the Sinai Peninsula, prosecutors said Saturday.
Osama Abdel-Ghani El-Nakhlawi, who was arrested in September, told interrogators that he participated in planning and making preparations for October 2004 bombings at the resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan as well as a July attack in Sharm El-Sheikh, the prosecutors told the court at the trial of two other suspects in the Taba attack.
El-Nakhlawi will be brought in as a third defendant in the trial, joining defendants Mohammed Gayez Sabbah and Mohammed Abdullah Rabaa, the prosecution said.
The trial, before an emergency court, is the first in connection with the Oct. 7 car bombings in Taba on the Israeli-Egyptian border, in which 34 people were killed.
Egyptian security officials have long said the Taba blast was connected to the July 23 suicide bombings in Sharm El-Sheikh, which killed at least 64 people. The two attacks prompted massive sweeps in the mountainous deserts of the Sinai Peninsula.
Prosecutors said they would present new evidence in the trial based on testimony from 19 other suspects arrested in the wake of the Sharm attacks, some of whom prosecutors said have since confessed to helping hide militants behind the Taba bombings.
The trial, which began last year, was adjourned until March 25. Sabbah and Rabaa have pleaded not guilty on a number of terror-related charges, including illegal possession of weapons, manufacturing explosives, plotting to kill Egyptians and foreigners and resisting and attacking police.
For the past week, security forces have been conducting a sweep in farmlands and olive groves outside the north Sinai town of El-Arish, hunting for 13 other suspects from the Sharm bombings, security officials in the town said.
Security forces first sought to arrest El-Nakhlawi, 23, immediately after the Taba attacks in a raid on the central Sinai town of El-Nakhl. Sabbah was caught in the raid but El-Nakhlawi escaped. He was captured in September, two months after the Sharm attacks, following a clash between militants and security forces near the Suez Canal. AP