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Hard-liners call on Luxor governor to quit despite president’s defense

CAIRO: A hard-line group called yesterday on one of its members to resign as governor of Luxor “for the sake of Egypt” despite President Muhammad Mursi defending the appointment.
Mursi infuriated many Egyptians this week by swearing in Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya’s Adel Mohamed Al-Khayat as governor of the town where members of the group massacred 58 tourists at a pharaonic temple in 1997.
In an interview with the state-owned newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm published yesterday, Mursi said: “There has never been a court ruling against the Luxor governor who was never condemned in the Luxor incident but was a suspect in the assassination of Sadat and was acquitted.”
The hiring of Luxor governor showed that Mursi, who hails from the relatively moderate Muslim Brotherhood group is openly reaching out for a political alliance with the more radical and former militant group ahead of a big wave of opposition-led protests expected to start on June 30.
However, just hours after the paper carried the interview on its front page and three inside pages, Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya’s political wing called on the new governor to resign.
“We are not after any post,” the group’s leader, Safwat Abdel Ghani told a news conference, adding he expected Khayat to officially announce his resignation on Saturday night. “We asked the new governor to resign for the sake of Egypt.”
The group may be trying to find way a way out of the impasse before the opposition protests by showing it understands the needs of the country and taking the pressure off Mursi. Tourism is one of the mainstays of Egypt’s economy, but has suffered badly in two years of unrest.
Mursi said Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya’s newly founded Construction and Development Party “works in the framework of a civil state and the governor was picked after was seen as better than all other candidates.”

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