Islamist and ex-militant group member quits as governor of Egypt’s Luxor | News | DW | 23.06.2013
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Islamist and ex-militant group member quits as governor of Egypt’s Luxor

Luxor's governor has announced his resignation. Protests followed the appointment of Adel al-Khayat, of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, which claimed responsibility for killling 58 tourists in a 1997 attack in Egypt.

Adel Al-Khayat told a news conference broadcast live on television that he had decided to resign. Last week, President Mohamed Morsi had controversially appointed al-Khayat the new governor of Egypt's Luxor province, despite his belonging to a hard-line Islamist group that killed 58 tourists there in 1997.

"We will not accept that one drop of blood be spilt because of a position that I did not personally aspire to at any time," al-Khayat anounced in a news conference, saying the decision had been made after consultations with his party. "I offered my resignation to serve public interest and because of the unfair media campaign against me."

Morsi's appointing al-Khayat showed the growing importance of the formerly militant faction al-Gamaa al-Islamiya as an ally of the president's Muslim Brotherhood. The group had mounted campaigns against Egypt's military rulers and tourist industry from the 1970s to 1990s.

Tourism Minister Hisham Zazou, a technocrat, quit in protest last Wednesday amid the outcry over al-Khayat's appointment, saying he had heard "very negative messages" from the industry over the appointment.

Al-Khayat has denied any personal role in the attacks and said he worked as a civil servant after a brief association with al-Gamaa as a student. However, his appointment prompted uproar in Luxor, in Egypt's south. Workers in the tourism industry feared the new governor could put off visitors during a prolonged period of poor business following the 2011 revolution.

mkg/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)