TEL AVIV – The terrorists who carried out last month’s triple bomb blasts in the Sinai resort town of Dahab used Israeli cell phones as their primary method of communication, according to security officials close to the investigation.
Egyptian authorities earlier this week announced the bombers trained for the operation in the Gaza Strip with local Palestinians who also provided financing.
Last week, as WND first reported, Egyptian officials said they suspected a plotter of the Dahab attacks recently infiltrated the Gaza Strip and has been extended refuge there by local terror groups, including members of Hamas.
Twenty-four people were killed and more than 85 were injured last month in the bomb attacks, which ripped through a Dahab restaurant, cafe and shopping center. The attacks were blamed on terror cells in the Sinai desert working on behalf of al-Qaida.
An Egyptian Interior Ministry statement said two Gaza-based Palestinians facilitated the attacks. It named one, Abu Suleiman, as providing the Egyptian cell that carried out the attacks with money. Another Palestinian, identified by the statement as Maged al-Deri, trained members of the group on the use of explosives and firearms. The training took place in the Gaza Strip, stated the ministry.
The statement did not identify the Palestinians further or connect them with any Palestinian terror organization.
Sources close to the investigation said the Egyptian terror cell, which included three brothers, communicated with each other and with the Gaza-based Palestinians using Israeli cell phones given to them by Suleiman. They said an Israeli cell phone chip was found on Mounir Muhareb, a suspected plotter of the attack who was killed in clashes with Egyptian forces earlier this month.
An examination of the phone records reportedly showed the chip had been used by the Sinai terror cell for intercommunication and to call Palestinians in Gaza.
Israeli phones are common in the Gaza Strip and can work using roaming signals in the Sinai desert.
A security official said members of Gaza terror groups have long preferred Israeli cell phones.
“They believe if they use Israeli phones, as opposed to Palestinian ones, they have less of a chance of being tapped by Israel,” said the official.
The information follows other reports linking the Dahab attacks to the Gaza Strip.
Egyptian officials said last week they suspected a plotter of the Dahab blasts recently infiltrated Gaza. The officials, speaking to WND on condition of anonymity, said authorities issued a request for Hamas to arrest and turn over the alleged attack plotter, who they said escaped from the Al-Arish region of the Sinai desert near Dahab, a popular Red Sea vacation and diving center not far from Egypt’s border with Israel.
Egyptian special forces in recent weeks have been raiding Bedouin villages in the Sinai, making multiple arrests and leading interrogations of suspected militants.
Egyptian intelligence officials said they suspect the Dahab blasts were carried out by local cells of Bedouins situated in the Sinai and affiliated with al-Qaida. A suicide bomber responsible for one of the blasts was identified as a Sinai-based Bedouin.
Egyptian officials told WND one attack plotter entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah Crossing, the main Egypt-Gaza checkpoint, and has been provided shelter by Hamas members and leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza-based terror organization.
They said the wanted militant is a relative of Khaled Musaed, a Sinai dentist Egyptian security officers say was the Sinai coordinator for al-Qaida-linked groups in the area. Musaed was killed several weeks ago in an Egyptian raid.
The Egyptian officials have requested the Hamas-led Palestinian government arrest and turn over the wanted militant.
Abu Abir, spokesperson for the Popular Resistance Committees, said he was aware of the Egyptian request but denied his group was harboring anyone associated with the Dahab bombings.
“This is propaganda to discredit us and Hamas,” Abu Abir told WND.