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Pakistanis not involved in Sharm Al-Sheikh blasts: Egyptian envoy

26 July, 2005

CAIRO: The Egyptian government while denying the involvement of six Pakistanis in the Sharm-El-Sheikh blasts has said that Egyptian citizen Yusef Badr
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ISLAMABAD, July 27 (Online): Egyptian Ambassador to Pakistan Hussain Kamel Harriddi Tuesday said that no proof of involvement of any Pakistani national has been found in the Saturday's Sharm Al-Sheikh blasts. He said that the Government of Pakistan has been sent an official intimation in this regard.

Talking to a private channel the Egyptian Ambassador said that the two countries enjoy exemplary relations in all fields of mutual interests including ways of curbing terrorism.

He said that both countries are part of the global alliance against terrorism.

The Ambassador said that friendly ties between the two countries will strengthen with the passage of time.

He added that terrorists follow no religion.

Earlier, the Pakistani embassy said that Egypt had not officially informed the country that its nationals were being sought in connection with the Sharm El Sheikh explosions.

"I saw the news on Al Jazeera and in today's newspapers and approached state security but they have not communicated anything officially," Khaled Niaz, consul at the Pakistani embassy in Cairo, told DPA.

Egyptian security was searching for five Pakistanis and had circulated their pictures and names to police, security sources said yesterday.

A sixth was believed to have died in one of the three explosions that rocked the Red Sea resort before dawn on Saturday.

Niaz said state security had assured him that Pakistanis were not suspects, but that they were believed to be among those unaccounted for.

"I told them (state security) that there are still a few bodies that have not been identified. I asked them to keep me posted on this subject because it is possible that they were also victims of the blasts," Niaz said.

On Sunday, a Ministry of Tourism spokesperson said that more than 10 people were unaccounted for, according to the resort's hotels. Niaz said he did not know how many Pakistanis were currently in Egypt.

However, he added he had asked his foreign ministry to contact Pakistani tour operators to find out how many of his compatriots were in the country at the time of the blasts.

Later on, Jordan also denied having knowledge or information about Pakistani suspects in the Sharm el-Sheik bombings who entered Egypt with Jordanian passports.

Interior Minister Aouni Yerfas said Jordan had not received official notification from the Egyptian authorities about the arrest of Pakistani suspects traveling with forged Jordanian passports.

Egypt suspects at least six Pakistani nationals of connections to Saturday's triple bombing attacks in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik in which more than 80 people were killed and 200 injured.

A group calling itself the Brigades of Martyr Abdullah Azzam al-Qaida Organizaton in Bilad Sham and Egypt claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The son of Abdullah Azzam, Hotheifa, rejected any links between his late father, who was regarded as the spiritual guide of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, and the Sharm el-Sheik bombings.

"If my father was still alive, he would be the first to fight such acts and the idea of killing innocent people," Hotheifa Azzam said.

Abdullah Azzam, who was killed in a car bomb in Pakistan in 1989, was the founder of Arab Islamic groups who fought against Soviet forces during their occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980's.

End.

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