Egyptian Islamist groups deny role in bomb attack

Cairo, Sep 6 (IANS) Egypt's main Islamist groups have denied responsibility for the assassination attempt on Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim as several liberal groups accused the Muslim Brotherhood of involvement.

Ibrahim survived an assassination attempt Thursday when a car bomb blew up next to his convoy, prompting him to warn that "a wave of terrorism" was just beginning. Ibrahim was unscathed, but 24 others were injured.

"This accident was likely to be a suicide explosion with a high explosive device," Xinhua quoted an interior ministry statement as saying.

No organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement condemning the incident, the Muslim Brotherhood - the most prominent Islamist group in Egypt backing ousted president Mohamed Morsi - described it as a "crime".

The interior minister was blamed by the Islamists for the forced dispersion of pro-Morsi sit-ins, in which around 1,000 people were killed.

Following the explosion, Amr Darrag, a senior leader of the Brotherhood, condemned the incident and denied accusations from the government that the group was committing terrorism.

"The bombing allegedly targeting the minister of interior today (Thursday) is regrettable and the National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy strongly condemns it," said Darrag on behalf of the alliance.

The Islamic Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya group, widely blamed for the infamous 1997 Luxor attack in which at least 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians were killed, also denounced the attack.

"No matter which group is responsible, and whatever are (the) reasons behind the incident, Al-Gamaa strongly denounces the incident," the Construction and Development Party, Al-Gamaa's political arm, said in an official statement.

Younis Makhyoun, chief of the ultra-conservative Salafist Al-Nour Party, the second biggest Islamic party after the Brotherhood in Egypt, said his party denounced violence in all forms, and warned that violent acts would complicate the political crisis.

Despite condemnations from the Islamic groups, some liberal parties blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the "terrorist act", and urged the government to declare it a "terrorist group" which should be dissolved.

The Democratic Front party said it believed such an attack is likely to be attributed to a group like the Muslim Brotherhood, as the latter has announced several times that it would target top officials who dispersed its protesters with force.

The Free Egyptians Party also accused the Brotherhood of being responsible for the incident, alleging that the assassination bid was part of "a conspiracy to burn Egypt, continue chaos scenario and weaken the state's pillars".

In reference to the Islamic factions, Amr Moussa, member of the National Salvation Front, asked all groups showing hostility to the interim government to assist security forces in tracking the perpetrators.

The presidency said in a statement Thursday that it wouldn't allow "the terrorism that Egyptians defeated in the 1980s and 1990s to show its ugly face again".

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