DUBAI - A group calling itself "Islamic Unity Brigades" claimed responsibility Friday for a series of bombings in Egypt's Sinai peninsula targeting Israeli tourists, and which Israel has blamed on Al-Qaeda.
"Four of your martyrdom-seeking brothers (suicide bombers) carried out this heroic operation... against a den of prostitution and corruption," said a statement posted on an Islamist website whose authenticity could not be confirmed.
The previously unknown group said the attack, which killed at least 19 people and left another 38 missing, was in revenge for Israel's assassination last March of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, and was "the first direct shot in the face of Jews."
The blows "will not stop until those infidels are driven out of the land of Islam," said the statement, which blasted the "collaborator Egyptian regime" for opening its country to "every infidel and debauchee."
Muslim mothers will not fail to give birth to "the likes of ... Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, may God keep them," the statement said, referring to Al-Qaeda chief bin Laden and his deputy.
Egypt was the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994.
In a call to AFP in Jerusalem, another previously unknown group had claimed responsibility for the late Thursday attack.
"Jamaa Al-Islamiya Al-Alamiya (World Islamist Group) claims responsibility for the explosion at the Taba hotel, carried out in revenge for the Palestinian and Arab martyrs dying in Palestine and Iraq," a caller said.