Egypt: Appointment of new Luxor governor sparks anger

Protests in Luxor against the appointment of Adel Khayat as governor, 18 June 2013 News of the appointment sparked protests on the streets of Luxor

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Egypt's tourism minister has said he will quit in protest at the appointment of a governor in the city of Luxor with links to an Islamist group that carried out an attack there in the 1990s.

But the prime minister said he would not accept Hesham Zazou's resignation.

There were protests in Luxor against the new governor, Adel Khayat.

Mr Khayat is a member of the political wing of Gamaa Islamiya. It claimed responsibility for a 1997 attack that left 58 of tourists dead.

Mr Khayat has denied any role in Gamaa Islamiya's militant past, and pledged to protect tourists.

Luxor is a prime destination for tourists, though the local economy has been struggling as visitor numbers have dropped since Egypt's political uprising in 2011.

Tourism workers there protested against the appointment for a second day on Wednesday.

Mr Zazou said Mr Khayat's nomination would have dire consequences for tourism.

"The minister is committed to his position on resigning, all the while the governor of Luxor remains in his position," the state news agency quoted his spokesman as saying.

But Prime Minister Hisham Qandil rejected the resignation, asking Mr Zazou to remain in office until the matter is reviewed.

The appointment of Islamist governors in other provinces, a number of them from the Muslim Brotherhood, has also triggered unrest.

The Brotherhood and its allies now control 13 of Egypt's 27 governorships.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was the chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, before he was sworn into office as the country's first democratically elected president almost a year ago.

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