Suicide bombers attack peacekeepers in Sinai

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Two suicide bombers blew themselves up yesterday near an international peacekeeping base in Egypt's Sinai desert just two days after explosions killed 24 people on the southern side of the peninsula in the beach resort of Dahab. The bombers were the only casualties of the latest attacks.

The first ambushed a van carrying two members of the Multinational Force and Observers, which monitors the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, and two Egyptian officials as they were travelling between their main base at el-Gorah and the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip.

Michael Sternberg, who heads the MFO's Israel office, said the vehicle was damaged but the two soldiers, a Norwegian and a New Zealander, and the Egyptians escaped unhurt. They were wearing helmets and body armour. Half an hour later, a second bomber struck an Egyptian police vehicle in the same area.

Yesterday's was the second attack on the 11-nation force MFO in eight months. A roadside bomb wounded two monitors last August. The force, led by US, has 1,700 personnel in Sinai.

* Israel will not prosecute a Palestinian militant detained last month over his faction's assassination of an Israeli cabinet minister in 2001, Israel's Justice Ministry said yesterday, citing lack of evidence. But it said Ahmed Saadat, the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, seized by Israeli commandos in a raid last month on a West Bank prison, would be tried for other "security offences".