Governor of Luxor quits after protests over his Islamist past


Tourists visit the Temple of Queen Hapshepsut at Deir el-Bahari in Luxor, Egypt.



New Luxor governor Adel Khayat has quit over controversy regarding his past with the political wing of the Islamist group Gamaa Islamiya, which is rumored to be behind a 1997 terrorist attack that killed 58 tourists. 

Khayat downplayed his connection with Gamaa Islamiya, whose political arm is called the Construction and Development party — but it was not enough to quell the concerns of the public and those in the tourism industry, wrote Al Jazeera.

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"We will not accept that one drop of blood be spilt because of a position that I did not personally aspire to at any time," said Khayat, in an attempt to quell the fears of Egyptian citizens, according to the BBC.

He left his post today after only a week in office, apparantly asked to step down by his own party. "We are not after any post," said Gamaa Islamiya leader Abdel Ghani to Reuters of the move.

"We asked the new governor to resign for the sake of Egypt."

Egyptian tourism minister Hesham Zezou resigned over Khayat's appointment by president Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday, while many other local residents were deeply suspicious of the appointment. 

"Why do we need this man from Gamaa Islamiya?" said Mohamed Osman from the Travel Agents Association in Luxor, in an interview with Al Jazeera. "It's well known here that they are the group who killed all those tourists in 1997. It seems clear to me that Mohamed Morsi wants to destroy the tourism business here."