Investigators have identified a suspected suicide bomber in Saturday's attacks in this resort city as an Egyptian with radical Islamic ties, officials said Tuesday, as dozens of others were questioned in the probe of three explosions that killed as many as 88 people.
Security officials also said Egyptian authorities had received information about an imminent terrorist attack in Sharm el-Sheikh days before the bombings. Authorities believed the attack would target casinos, so security was increased around those facilities, according to two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
The officials, who have knowledge of the investigation, would not say where the tip came from but said that security forces were put on alert in the resort city on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula several days before the nearly simultaneous bombings shortly after 1 a.m.
Casinos were not targeted, however. One truck bomb detonated at an arcade of the Old Market, and a second struck the reception area of the Ghazala Gardens Hotel, leveling the lobby. A third bomb, apparently carried by a person still at large, was left in a suitcase in a parking lot used by taxis.
Police using DNA tests identified one of the bodies found at the Ghazala site as Youssef Badran, an Egyptian resident of the Sinai who security officials said has links to Islamic radicals. Those links led the officials to suspect he was the bomber in that attack.
Police held members of Badran's family for questioning and were trying to identify his associates, the officials said. Across Sinai, security forces detained 70 people for questioning Tuesday, bringing to 140 the number held since the blasts.
The remains of another suspected bomber were discovered at the Old Market, and DNA tests were being conducted, a security official said.
On Tuesday, Egypt's ambassador to Pakistan, Hussein Haridy, said he had told the Pakistani government that Egyptian authorities had concluded that no Pakistanis were involved in the bombings.
On Monday, Egyptian police had circulated photographs of five Pakistani men, but authorities did not directly link them to the blasts. Security officials said the men had flown into Sharm el-Sheikh from Cairo several days earlier and were now being sought for illegally entering Egypt.
The death toll stood at 88, according to the head of the Sharm el-Sheikh hospital, where the victims were treated. Egypt's Health Ministry, however, said that 64 people had died in the attacks. The hospital said the ministry count did not include some sets of body parts.
South Sinai's governor said Monday that 17 of the dead were non-Egyptians, including Westerners and citizens of other Arab states. One American, Kristina Miller, 27, of Las Vegas, was killed.
Meanwhile, 20 of Egypt's top movie and music stars visited Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday, touring the sites of the attacks and visiting some of the hospitalized Egyptians. "I am here to tell my people that we shouldn't let terrorism have its way," director Youssef Chahine said while touring the gutted Ghazala Gardens Hotel. "The people are very sad but they are not afraid. It's not the first time but it is the most vicious one."
Investigators are pursuing a possible connection to the bombings in October of two Sinai resorts farther north, Taba and Ras Shytan, that killed 34 people, including many Israelis. DNA from the remains of the suspected bombers in Saturday's attacks were being compared with samples taken from the parents of five suspects still at large from the 2004 blasts in an effort to determine if the bombings were related.