Egypt’s controversial Luxor Governor Steps Down, Tensions Still High

Luxor Governor Steps Down, Tensions Still High

A newly appointed governor of an Egyptian province has resigned amid a controversy over his links to an Islamic terror attack.

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Luxor Governor Steps Down, Tensions Still High
Luxor Governor Steps Down, Tensions Still High

Adel al-Khayat stepped down as governor of Luxor because he is a member of the political wing of ex-Islamic militant group Gamaa Islamiya, responsible for a massacre in 1997 in which 58 tourists were killed, but he has denied any involvement in the attack.

President Mohammed Morsi had defended the appointment, but the nomination had drawn widespread criticism in Egypt.

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Mr Khayat told a news conference broadcast live on television that he had decided “to submit my resignation to prime minister Hisham Qandil” just a week after his appointment.

The appointment was seen as a blow to the once-lucrative tourism industry which has been struggling to recover after the uprising against former leader Hosni Mubarak.

It prompted tourism minister Hesham Zazou to tender his own resignation last Wednesday, saying Mr Khayat’s nomination was an affront to the tourism industry. Mr Qandil refused to accept the resignation.

Mr Zazou has insisted he would continue to halt work “as long as the new governor remains in his post, greatly harming tourism in Egypt generally and Luxor specifically,” the prime minister’s spokeswoman, Rasha al-Azaizy, said last week.

A coalition of opposition groups, trade unions and tourism workers had threatened to close down all pharaonic temples and tourist attractions should Khayat remain in the post.

Luxor in southern Egypt, is an open-air museum of intricate temples and tombs of pharaonic rulers and landmarks such as the Winter Palace hotel where crime novelist Agatha Christie is said to have written her thriller Death on the Nile.

Before the uprising against Mubarak, it attracted thousands of tourists annually, drawn by the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, and the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut – scene of the 1997 massacre in which four tourist guards were also killed.



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