CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood warned Tuesday against any attempt by the government to use the deadly bombings in Dahab to silence opposition to the planned renewal of a longstanding state of emergency. The [government] had already decided to extend the state of emergency before the bombings, the opposition Islamist movement s spokesman Essam Al-Aryan told AFP. But this doesn t mean the government won t use them as an excuse to muzzle any form of opposition, he added, reacting to the triple bombings which left 24 people dead and scores wounded in the Red Sea resort of Dahab. Though the Islamist movement is officially banned in Egypt, it commands the support of a fifth of MPs and has launched a fierce campaign against the expected renewal next month of the state of emergency. During his campaign for the September 2005 presidential election, Mubarak promised to abolish the state of emergency which has been in force almost continuously since 1967. But the 77-year-old president warned in a recent interview that new counter-terrorism legislation would be needed to replace the state of exception that could take as long as two years to draft. The emergency laws grant security forces sweeping powers of arrest and restrict non-government political activity. Previous spates of bombings in the Sinai which left 34 people dead in October 2004 and some 70 dead in July 2005 were followed by massive raids on the peninsula s Bedouin population. But the state of emergency has failed to prevent the violence. This law is useless to confront the security problem, said Aryan, who expressed his condemnation of the Dahab bombings. The movement also issued a statement signed by its supreme leader Mohammed Mahdi Akef, who said such attacks were against Islam and served the interests of the Zionist-American project.
The statement by the Muslim militant group, which outlawed in Egypt but has been allowed to participate politically in recent months and whose supporters hold seats in parliament, came a day after Hamas also condemned the bombings.
Groups like Hamas and the Brotherhood have taken pains in recent months to distance themselves from Al-Qaeda and other worldwide Islamic radical groups that attack civilians, especially Muslim or Arab civilians.
Security experts have said that past Sinai bombings in the last year and a half have borne some marks of Al-Qaeda or at least groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
In its statement, the Brotherhood said it condemned the attack in Dahab, whoever might be behind it. These criminal actions are aiming to destabilize the country, the group said. Agencies