Bomb blasts at two resort hotels in eastern Tunisia...

TUNIS, Tunisia -- Bomb blasts at two resort hotels in eastern Tunisia injured 12 Italian and British tourists and a Tunisian hotel employee, the Interior Ministry said Monday.

Explosions at two other nearby hotels Sunday night apparently caused no injuries, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.


No one claimed responsibility for the attacks and there was no official response from the government. The bombs were all handmade and caused little damage to the resorts, the spokesman said.

Seven Italian travelers, five British tourists and a Tunisian worker were injured in the bombings at about 11 p.m. Sunday at hotels in the beach resort towns of Monastir and Sousse, about 100 miles south of the capital of Tunis.

Monastir is the birthplace of President Habib Bourguiba and the bombings came on the eve of his 84th birthday.

Festivities celebrating his birth, including a parade in the capital, took place Monday without incident and were attended by Prince Sidi Mohamed, heir to the Moroccan throne.

The five British citizens and the Tunisian employee were injured by a bomb that exploded in the bar at the Sahara Beach Hotel in Monastir.

Helen Bernadette Sprocki of Scotland, the most seriously injured victim of the bombing, had a foot amputated at a hospital, the Interior Ministry spokesman said. The other four tourists and the worker were treated for minor injuries.


The seven Italians were injured in a blast in a bar at the Hannibal Hotel in the Port El-Kantoui resort near Sousse. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

The Italian government said it would send a plane Monday night to repatriate the Italian victims, a Tunisian government spokesman said.

Bombs also exploded at the Hana Beach Hotel in Sousse and the Kuriat Hotel in Monastir, with no apparent injuries.

News reports said the bombings likely were carried out by Moslem fundamentalist groups that have been under investigation by police for several months.

Tunisia broke diplomatic relations with Iran on March 26, accusing Tehran of using its embassy in Tunis as a base to organize Moslem fundamentalist groups.

The diplomatic break came after police in Paris arrested six Tunisians, an Algerian and a Lebanese suspected of belonging to the fundamentalist pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement.

The arrests were made in connection with the discovery of a large cache of arms and explosives at the height of a bombing campaign on Paris streets last September that killed at least a dozen people and injured more than 160. Tunisia accused Iran of trying to harm its foreign relations.

The pro-Western Bourguiba has ruled the North African nation since 1959. His health has been failing in recent years and he has traveled to Europe several times for medical treatment.


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