October 12, 2004
Deliberately and systematically killing civilians violates the most fundamental principles of humanity. Political parties, community leaders and government officials should speak out unequivocally against these atrocities and support every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division

The bombings of a hotel and other tourist spots in and around the Egyptian resort town of Taba are crimes against humanity that should be vigorously condemned by civic and religious leaders throughout the Middle East, Human Rights Watch said today. The October 7 assaults are among the latest in a pattern of attacks by armed opposition groups in the Middle East that willfully target civilians.

“Deliberately and systematically killing civilians violates the most fundamental principles of humanity,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division. “Political parties, community leaders and government officials should speak out unequivocally against these atrocities and support every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Bombs exploded on October 7 at several resorts in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula frequented by tourists from Israel. The attacks killed 34 people and injured more than 100. Most of the victims were Egyptians, but many victims were also vacationing Israelis and Europeans. The scale of the combined attacks has led Israeli and other officials to speculate that they were carried out by a group linked with Al-Qaeda.

“Whoever is responsible, this atrocity is no less heinous than the car bombings in Iraq and Saudi Arabia that have killed hundreds of civilians, or the repeated killing of people in captivity,” Whitson said. “No political cause, including a struggle against military occupation, can justify indiscriminate attacks aimed at killing and terrorizing civilians, or taking people hostage and murdering them in cold blood.”

Human Rights Watch said that attacks directed against civilians and the taking of hostages are among the most serious crimes that can be committed, whether in times of peace or war.