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Egyptian President: Fight Terrorism

January 24, 1998

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Speaking on the Islamic calendar’s holiest night, Egyptian President Honsi Mubarak called on Muslim countries Saturday to fight terrorism by people claiming to be ``protectors of Islam.″

Mubarak’s address was broadcast nationwide during Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Destiny, in which tradition holds that an angel began revealing Islam’s holy book, the Koran, to Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.

``This black terrorism aims to weaken the (Islamic) nation, exhaust its powers and waste its resources,″ Mubarak said.

Islamic militants have been fighting since 1992 to replace Mubarak’s government with strict Islamic rule. More than 1,200 people have been killed since the insurrection began.

Several leaders of Egypt’s militant movement are believed to be living in Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

``Those terrorist killers claiming to be the ... protectors of Islam ... should be condemned and strongly deterred by the true believers,″ Mubarak said.

Mubarak’s address did not name other countries, such as Algeria, where attacks by Muslim militants are common.

One of the worst recent militant attacks in Egypt took place on Nov. 17 when members of the radical Muslim group al-Gamaa al-Islamiya massacred 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians in a Pharaonic temple in the southern city of Luxor. Police killed the six attackers.

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