Terrorism hits home in Cairo, Egypt wants coalition effort

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Egyptian officials said President Hosni Mubarak plans to organize Western and other allies to increase cooperation against groups deemed as terrorists. They said the plan has been discussed with the United States.

Egypt has launched a new offensive against the Muslim Brotherhood after major demonstrations late last week.

Last week, Mubarak's diplomatic adviser, Osama El Baz, told a Washington conference that Cairo plans to coordinate efforts against terrorism within the next few months. El Baz said Mubarak hopes to convene an international parley on the issue.

Islamic sources said the latest government offensive targeted the Brotherhood leadership, Middle East Newsline reported. They said 11 senior Brotherhood members were arrested in Al Daqahlia and accused of fomenting anti-government unrest.

In an address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, El Baz said Mubarak plans to meet with world leaders and elicit a commitment for a greater commitment against terrorism. The adviser said Mubarak also wants to promote dialogue between Islam and other religions to isolate extremists.

On Friday, more than 100,000 people demonstrated against Israel and the United States in one of the largest protests organized by the Islamic opposition.

El Baz and Mubarak's son, Gamal, met senior U.S. officials during a tour of the United States last week. The CSIS conference focused on Egyptian-U.S. relations, which were described as having entered a period of tension.

It was Gamal's first official meeting with senior members of the Bush administration, including Vice President Cheney. The 39-year-old investment banker and emerging political leader is widely regarded as the heir to President Hosni Mubarak, who is 75 and ailing. Mubarak's fourth term of office ends in 2005.

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