Al-Qaida terrorists were blamed yesterday for the car bomb attacks in resorts on Egypt's Sinai coast that are feared to have killed more than 50 people, most of them Israelis.

Israelis fled home across the nearby border after an explosion on Thursday sheared outer rooms from a ten-storey wing of the luxury Hilton hotel in Taba, where rescue workers gave up hope of finding more survivors.

The hotel death toll stood at 28 last night but officials said 30 people were missing and believed to be under the rubble.

About 160 people were injured.

Earlier it was reported that two Britons were among the injured, but the Foreign Office confirmed the pair were not British nationals.

Yesterday, carpets and insulation hung from the gaping facade of the hotel, where Israeli rescuers and Egyptian Red Crescent workers were digging for victims.

Bedsheets swinging from balconies was evidence of the frantic efforts of guests to escape from the blast.

No credible claims of responsibility emerged immediately, although suspicion for the car blasts and, according to some reports, a suicide bombing, fell quickly on al-Qaida-inspired militants.

Two smaller blasts followed in Ras Shitan, a camping area near the town of Nuweiba, 35 miles south of Taba.

The most devastating of the strikes was at the Taba Hilton, where a car laden with explosives crashed into the hotel lobby and exploded.

Survivors caught up in the attack yesterday described how they fled the scene of the devastating blast.

Charlie Mead, from Selly Park, Birmingham, and his partner, Katie Wright, also from Birmingham, were just finishing their evening meal when the blast ripped through the hotel.

Mr Mead said: "The windows blew out. Well, actually they blew in. We left the main restaurant area as fast as we could and fled."

The 51-year-old psychologist was uninjured, but Ms Wright, a 39-year-old freelance programme maker, suffered several serious cuts from flying glass.

Mr Mead said: "Both of us feel very lucky. We coped with it last night. I'm a psychologist and I do a lot of work with people who have been traumatised.

"But it's very different when you go through it yourself. We both woke up this morning feeling incredibly shaky."

About 1,000 people were holidaying with British tour companies in and around Taba at the time.

Frances Tuke, a spokeswoman for the Association of British Travel Agents, said they had all been accounted for and none had been hurt.

Rafi Caplin, managing director of Longwood Holidays, which had 19 clients from the UK staying at the hotel, said they had been taken to hotels at a resort about 20 minutes from the blast site.

He said Longwood was due to fly out several hundred more UK holidaymakers to Taba from Gatwick and Manchester, but a decision had yet to be taken on what to do about the flights.