Egypt was tipped off about Sharm el-Sheik attacks

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THE Egyptian authorities received information about an imminent terror attack in Sharm el-Sheik days ahead of the devastating weekend bombings, security officials revealed yesterday.

But they believed it would target casinos, so security was increased around those sites, said two officials.

The news was revealed as investigators identified a body they suspect is that of a suicide bomber, saying he was an Egyptian with Islamic militant ties.

The officials, who have knowledge of the investigation, would not say where the tip came from, but said security had been put on alert in the resort on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula several days before the pre-dawn attacks on Saturday.

Instead of casinos, the bombers, in two explosives-laden lorries, targeted hotels just after 1am on Saturday morning. One ploughed into the Ghazala Gardens reception area, levelling the lobby. A second headed for another hotel but got caught in traffic and detonated before reaching its target.

Police using DNA tests identified one of the bodies found at the Ghazala site as Youssef Badran, an Egyptian Sinai resident who they said has links to Islamic militants, security officials said. Those links led the officials to suspect he was the bomber in the attack.

A third group yesterday issued a claim of responsibility for the Sharm attacks. The previously unknown Egyptian group Tawhid and Jihad said it attacked the "Crusaders" in Sharm on orders from the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian-born deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, "in support of our brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan".