Attacks in Eygpt: 'The truth is our children are no longer with us'

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The Independent Online

The parents of Jeremy Lakin, 28, and Annalie Vickers, 31, who were on the last night of their week-long diving holiday when the attacks took place, said they had retraced the couple's steps to the site of one of the three bombings. Eighty-eight people are thought to have died.

Tony Miller, an American who lives in Britain, said he kept frantically pressing the redial button on his mobile phone to reach his daughter Kristina and her boyfriend Keri Davies ­ two of 10 missing Britons ­ as he watched news of the bombs on television. He was briefly reassured by staff at their hotel, the Hilton, that the couple had been seen at breakfast, only to have it confirmed by a US official that his daughter was dead.

The Hilton is several hundred metres from the Ghazala Gardens Hotel, which was hit by a car bomb.

When they arrived in Egypt on Sunday the parents of Mr Lakin, a human resources manager from Bourne, in Lincolnshire, and Ms Vickers, his girlfriend, handed out photographs on the streets and in bars as they tried to piece together where the couple had been before the bombing.

Mr Lakin's father Trevor, told GMTV: "The reality is that they are no longer with us but they will always be with us in our hearts. We came out here with the hope of finding them in a hospital. That was our hope. We have followed their last tracks, where they went, what they did, and, unfortunately, we have been able to trace them to the scene of one of the bombs. Jez, like Annalie, loved life, he loved his life and especially he loved Annalie. And no matter what happens in the future, they can never ever be parted again.

"In our minds they are together, they had a fantastic week, diving together, loving each other and they went together."

Ms Vickers' stepfather, John Corke, added: "This is every parents' nightmare. It's something you see happening to other people and you don't believe it will happen to you, but it has and we have to come to terms with that."

In a dignified statement issued to reporters here, Mr and Mrs Lakin and Mr and Mrs Corke thanked the British embassy staff, hoteliers and tour operators for their "support and assistance" and added: "The response of the Egyptian emergency services has been excellent. They acted with dignity and respect. We would like to add that the Egyptian people have been a great comfort to us.

"We know that many of them lost loved ones. Our hearts are with them also."

Claire Bentley, whose brother-in-law Alan and wife Mandy were on holiday with their son David and his friend said: "The Foreign Office haven't told us anything at the moment. We rang the hotline and gave descriptions but we have not heard anything.

"They said it is bedlam at the moment and there is nothing they can help us with. We are hoping by doing this somebody who has seen Alan and Mandy and David and his friend... if anyone has seen them they can get in touch and say they are OK."

Egyptian investigators said last night they had identified a body they suspect of being a suicide bomber. Police said that DNA tests identified one of the bodies found at the Ghazala site as Youssef Badran, an Egyptian Sinai resident who they say has links to Islamic militants. As police detained dozens more people for questioning, officials also said there had been a warning of a possible attack in Sharm el Sheikh days earlier but they thought it would target casinos.

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

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