The controversial appointment in the tourist-heavy province of Luxor wasn't going to help tourism in the beleaguered country recover, and now the government recognizes that.
The new governor of Egypt’s Luxor province, controversially appointed last week despite belonging to a hardline Islamist group that killed 58 tourists there in 1997, announced his resignation on Sunday.
“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,” Adel Mohamed al-Khayat said in a news conference, saying the decision had been made after consultations with his party.
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A member of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, which mounted campaigns against Egypt’s military rulers and tourist industry at various times from the 1970s to 1990s, al-Khayat was appointed a week ago by President Mohamed Mursi in a move that showed the growing importance of al-Gamaa as an ally of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Khayat had denied any personal role in militant attacks, having worked as a civil servant after a brief association with al-Gamaa as a student.
But his appointment prompted uproar in Luxor, in the southern heartlands of al-Gamaa support. Workers in the tourist industry around its pharaonic temples feared the new governor could put off visitors at a time when business is already poor due to continued unrest following the 2011 revolution.
(Reporting by Cairo bureau; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Alison Williams)
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Photo credit: A protester throws a chain next to a graffiti on the wall depicting the newly appointed governor of Luxor Adel Mohamed al-Khayat, as a terrorist. Reuters