At least 65 people were killed in a series of powerful explosions that rocked the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheik early Saturday, Egypt’s interior minister said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and it was not clear whether the bombs were in parked cars or detonated by suicide bombers.  However, later reports said that an itnernet leaflet claimed Al-Qaeda responsibility for the attacks.

The Muslim Brotheren leader in Egypt condemnd the attacks describing them as terrorism.

According to reports, about 120 people were wounded in the blasts, some are in seriouse condition, which might raise the number of deaths.

The explosions were apparently caused by car bombs at hotels and a market that catered mostly to European and Arab tourists, The Associated Press reported, quoting security officials. Fire and smoke rose in Sharm el Sheik and nearby Naama Bay, which also has a strip of beach hotels.

Investigators had started to gather clues from one of the cars used in the bombings, the interior minister, Habib El-Adly, said and he added that those behind Saturday’s attacks could have links to those who conducted attacks last October on resorts in the Sinai Peninsula.

In October attacks, three nearly simultaneous explosions ripped apart hotels in Taba, on the border with Israel, and two other Sinai resorts, killing 34 people, some of them Israelis.

Saturday’s explosions rocked the resort area shortly after 1 a.m. and all took place within a few minutes of one another, witnesses said.

‘What happened early this morning is rejected by all people,’ Egypt’s tourism minister, Ahmed el-Maghrabi, told Egyptian television. ‘These criminal gangs will not be able to prevent people from traveling and moving.’

The most powerful bombs went off in a parking lot between the Ghazala and Mövenpick hotels in Sharm el Sheik’s Naama Bay area.

Another large bomb exploded in a popular market area a few miles away, the A.P. reported. That blast killed 17 people, many of them believed to be Egyptians sitting at a coffee shop. In addition, a blast occurred at a busy taxi stand, Egyptian television reported.

Despite the late hour, the streets were still busy because many people stay indoors during the heat of the day and come out late at night.

Apparently, these attacks would seriously harm tourism in Egypt.  Sharm el Sheik is Egypt’s leading resort and draws foreign tourists year-round from Europe and the Arab world. The area is particularly popular among scuba divers and snorkelers who are drawn to the clear water and abundant marine life.

Sharm is also used for international summit meetings.  In February it hosted a Palestinian-Israeli summit during which both announced a cease-fire. 

The Sinai Peninsula, on which tip, Sharm el Sheik is located, has been a target for bombers.

In first reports on the bombing on Saturday, the casualties included people from Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the A.P. reported, citing a security official.

Egypt’s economy depends heavily on tourism, and the industry had recovered after the series of terror attacks in the 1990’s that drove away many Western visitors.

There has been series of attacks against foreign tourists in Egypt since the early 1990s.  Some of the attacks were carried by fundamental Islamic groups opposed to the Egyptian President Housni Mubarak’s rule.

A list of the most significant attacks in Egypt that involved tourists is below, as quoted from Reuters.

October 21, 1992 — Militants ambush tourist bus, killing a British woman and wounding two British men. The woman is the first foreigner to die in militant-related violence.

February 26, 1993 — Bomb in crowded coffee shop in central Cairo kills a Turk, a Swede and an Egyptian and wounds 20.

June 8, 1993 — Bomb explodes near tour bus on Pyramids Road in Cairo, killing two Egyptians and wounding 22 people, including five Britons.

October 27, 1993 — A man described as a mentally disturbed musician shoots dead two American businessmen, a French jurist and an Italian at a luxury Cairo hotel.

March 4, 1994 — Gunmen fire at Nile cruiser in southern Egypt, wounding a German woman tourist, who died after being flown back to Germany.

August 26, 1994 — Gunmen kill Spanish boy in an attack on a tourist bus in southern Egypt.

September 27, 1994 — Gunmen shoot and kill one German tourist and wound another in a gun attack in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. Two Egyptians also killed and another German man died of his wounds after returning to Germany.

October 23, 1994 — Militants kill a British tourist and wound three in a minibus attack.

April 18, 1996 — Islamic militants shoot dead 18 Greek tourists they mistook for Israelis near the Pyramids.

September 18, 1997 — Gunmen kill nine German tourists and their Egyptian bus driver in a shooting and firebomb attack outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

November 17, 1997 — Attackers kill 58 tourists and four Egyptians at an ancient temple near the southern tourist town of Luxor. Six gunmen and three police also die in the violence.

October 7, 2004 – A series of bombings at the Taba Hilton hotel on Egypt’s border with Israel, and two beaches further south, kill 34 people.

April 7, 2005 – A probable suicide bomb attack in a bazaar in medieval Cairo kills an American man, a French man and woman and the suspected bomber.

April 30, 2005 – A suicide bomber wounds seven people including four foreigners — two Israelis, an Italian and a Swede — near the Egyptian museum.