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Sunday, November 23, 1997 Published at 23:53 GMT


Britain denies sheltering Egyptian killers
image: [ Mubarak: Egypt is not solely responsible for the deaths at Luxor ]
Mubarak: Egypt is not solely responsible for the deaths at Luxor

Britain has rejected accusations by the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, that the country shelters Islamic militants responsible for attacks such as the Luxor massacre.

In a statement, the British Home Secretary, Jack Straw, said the Government was tightening existing laws aimed at stopping people in Britain planning violence acts abroad.

He added: "We will also target terrorist fund-raising activities."

But he said Britain was obliged to consider applications for political asylum on their merits.

President Mubarak has accused a number of states of protecting Islamic militants but singled out the UK.

He accused the Government of granting political asylum to extremists and allowing them to raise funds for attacks in Egypt.

[ image: Egypt fears losing tourists]
Egypt fears losing tourists
"If you do not want your sons be killed, why do you protect killers?" he said.

"Terrorists are present and living on English territory and other countries where they collect funds and plan [attacks]."

Mr Mubarak made the comments while opening a museum in the southern city of Luxor, where last week gunmen massacred more than 60 people, 58 of them tourists.

Egypt has often complained that western governments shelter fugitives from Islamic extremist groups.

Several members of Middle Eastern Islamist groups are living in England, many of them on the run from death sentences.

[ image: Egypt stepped up security following the attack]
Egypt stepped up security following the attack
Mr Mubarak, who sacked his interior minister after it became apparent that security was lax at the site of the massacre, admitted policing could have been better.

But he said that without the help of exiled militants such attacks would not happen.

"There were mistakes of course. [But] had foreign states not given shelter to those who got severe sentences, this would not have taken place.

"[Fugitive militants] draw their plans abroad and pay money to criminals here. By money you can carry out a criminal operation anywhere in the world," Mr Mubarak said.

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