PM ignores terror threat for holiday in Egypt

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Tony Blair brushed aside the threat of Islamic suicide bombers yesterday by taking his famil to the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh for their annual post-Christmas holiday on the Red Sea.

A total of 88 people were killed in triple attacks when suicide bombers exploded bombs in July wrecking several hotels in the resort. In spite of the increased security risks, Downing Street announced last night that the Prime Minister was on holiday with his family in the Red Sea resort.

The decision by Mr Blair to take a holiday with his family at the Egyptian resort will be seen as a determined effort by the Prime Minister to shore up the Government of Hosni Mubarek against attacks by Islamic extremists.

The Blairs are believed to be taking the winter sun for the third year running in a high security part of the resort, reserved for VIPs, where an exclusion zone can be thrown around their villa.

Downing Street had ordered a news blackout on his holiday plans, but the Egyptian tourism minister, Lila Habib confirmed that the Blairs would be spending their winter break in Sharm El Sheik.

No 10 gave no further details of the visit, other than to say that the Blairs were paying all their own transport and accommodation costs.

"The Prime Minister is now on holiday for a short winter break," a spokesman said.

In July, the town was hit by a series of terrorist bombs which left 88 dead - including 11 Britons - and injured more than 100. Groups with links to al-Q'aeda claimed responsibility.

British families of the victims have protested that they were "abandoned, isolated and ignored" by the UK authorities. They are unlikely to receive any compensation payments because the travel insurance industry excludes terrorism.