November 19, 1997 in Nation/World

U.S. Officials Take Latest Egyptian Terrorism In Stride

Boston Globe

As the Egyptian government regrouped Tuesday after a dramatic and deadly attack on tourists, officials in the Clinton administration said they are not worried about a surge by Islamic militant groups calling for violence in Egypt.

U.S. officials said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government is not in danger and an Algerian-style wave of terrorism is unlikely. As proof of Mubarak’s control, they cited his appointment Tuesday of a hard-line minister of the interior to oversee security agencies.

“I don’t think this is the beginning of the end there or a serious blow to Egyptian stability,” one official said. “Mubarak’s government has all sorts of resources which it will bring into play.”

But human rights groups say that is precisely the problem. Those resources, they say, include torture, indiscriminate jailings and censorship. Egypt has banned several Islamic political parties as well as trade associations tied to Islamic groups.

Neil Hicks, who directs Middle East programs for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, said Egypt is leaving less and less political space for opposition groups while more disenchanted people are tempted to turn to violence.

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