Luxor on the Nile, about 600 km South of Cairo, Egypt’s capital, near the Valley of Kings, the burial site of many of Egyptian ancient Pharaohs, is the center of Egyptian Archeological tourism.Luxor is always crowded with thousands of tourists from all over the world, many of them from the Western democracies.
On the morning of 11/17/1997, at about 08:45 local time, a group of six armed Egyptian Jamaa Islamiya members, who called themselves Jihad Talaat al-Fatah (“Jihad of the Victorious Vanguard”), attacked the tourist site in Deir el-Bahri near Luxor. Deir el-Bahri is the location of the famous Mortuary temple of the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut.
The six militants, disguised as police, emerged from nearby cliffs, and fired randomly at the many tourists in the site, than the attackers hijacked another tourist bus in an attempt to flee the area. Armed Egyptian tourist police and military forces arrived soon afterwards and engaged in gun battle with the six terrorists, who were later killed or committed suicide. The event became known as the Luxor Massacre.
In the Luxor Massacre 62 people were killed. 58 foreign tourists, from all around the world, and 4 Egyptians, three of them police officers and one of them a tour guide. Many other were wounded in the Luxor Massacre.
The Luxor Massacre seriously affected the Egyptian tourist industry and caused sharp decline in visitors remaining depressed, until sinking even lower, with The 9/11. Many Egyptian families, as well as the whole Egyptian economy, were damaged by the Luxor Massacre. Public atmosphere in Egypt turned against the Islamic militancy and especially against the Egyptian Jamaa Islamiya and the groups lost the population’s support.
More then 1200 Islamic militants were arrested in Egypt in connection with the Luxor Massacre. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak partly blamed UK and USA for the attacks after those countries had granted political asylum to Egyptian terrorist leaders such as Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in USA, connected also to Osama Bin Laden, or Yasser el-Sirri in UK.
Some Arab media channels and internet sites, related to Islam, claimed that Luxor Massacre was nothing but an Israeli provocation against the Islamic nation.
The Luxor Massacre marked a decisive drop in Islamist terrorists’ fortunes in Egypt by turning Egyptian public opinion overwhelmingly against them. Islamic terror activity in Egypt almost completely ceased in the several years following the Luxor Massacre.
Intelligence sources in Egypt calimed that Rifaai Taha, the leading hawk in EGYPTIAN JI leadership, is held to have ordered, as a signal of his faction’s refusal to abide by any possible ceasefire, the Luxor massacre.
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