[IWAR] EGYPT Tourists not targets

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Mon Dec 08 1997 - 09:53:41 PST

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                    Egyptian group says it will stop killing tourists
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 Reuters
       CAIRO (December 8, 1997 07:29 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) - The
       militant Muslim group that claimed responsibility for the massacre last
       month of 58 foreign tourists said it would no longer target tourists as
       a way to weaken the Egyptian government.
       "The Gama'a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) has decided to stop targeting
       either the tourism industry or foreign tourists," the group said in a
       statement made available to Reuters on Monday.
       Six gunmen shot and knifed to death 58 tourists and four Egyptians in
       the southern town of Luxor on Nov. 17 in the bloodiest attack since the
       Gama'a launched a campaign in 1992 to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak.
       "The Gama'a has taken this decision out of a sense of responsibility
       because it refuses to take advantage or use such a rejected incident
       (the Luxor attack) in the framework of our war with the Egyptian
       regime," the group said.
       The Gama'a said its own investigation into the attack showed that young
       members had acted on their own, another sign that the group seemed to
       lack a central authority and had fragmented into smaller, more violent
       "It has become clear that the perpetrators of the Luxor incident are
       young and new members of the Gama'a. They were not assigned to carry out
       any work connected to tourism," the statement said.
       "Exiled Gama'a leaders were surprised by what happened at Luxor and were
       shocked by the large number of victims and the mutilation of some of the
       dead, which violates the principles of legitimacy, humanity and politics
       of the Gama'a in Egypt."
       The group had targeted tourists, senior officials, policemen and
       Christians in a bid to weaken the government and install an Islamic
       Ninety-two tourists have been killed in 25 attacks since 1992, many of
       which were claimed by the Gama'a as a way to damage the lucrative
       tourism industry.
       The group said a statement issued in the name of the Gama'a shortly
       after the Luxor attack was not genuine.
       A Gama'a statement made available to Reuters after the mass killings had
       said 15 members had intended to take tourists hostage in Luxor as a way
       to secure the release of Gama'a spiritual leader Omar Abdel-Rahman from
       a U.S. jail.
       "This proves the falseness (of the statement) seeing as the perpetrators
       were just six and they all died in confrontation with the police," the
       group said in the latest statement.
       "Gama'a leaders abroad were not able to take the initiative to deny this
       statement because they could not contact brother Mustafa Hamza, who is
       in charge of the Gama'a military wing and is in charge of such things,"
       it added.
       Hamza, 39, is one of Egypt's most wanted fugitive militants.
       By Mona Eltahawy, Reuters

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