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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
In pictures: Egypt vendetta ends
A member of the Adul-Halim family walks bareheaded through the streets of Beit Allam in Upper Egypt holding a funeral shroud
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One of the most enduring and bloody family feuds of modern times in Upper Egypt has ended with a tense ceremony of humiliation and forgiveness.
Members of the Adul-Halim family walk through the streets holding funeral shrouds
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Members of the Abdul-Halim clan went to their rivals, the Hanashat, and begged forgiveness for the killing of 22 of their number in a 2002 ambush staged to avenge an earlier killing.
Funeral shroud in the hands of an Abdul-Halim as he goes to ask forgiveness
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Seventeen members of the Abdul-Halim clan walked through Beit Allam village carrying funeral shrouds. The choice they offered their rivals was: "Forgive me or take my life."
An Abdul-Halim (left) is embraced by a Hanashat (right) in the reconciliation ceremony
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The Abdul-Halims entered a large tent - bareheaded, some trembling, sweating and all looking agonised - where they received forgiveness from members of the Hanashat.
Police separate rival clans in Beit Allam
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A huge police presence oversaw the tense ceremony. Most villagers are Abdul-Halims or Hanashats and the merest spark could make the vendetta flare up again.
A member of the Abdul-Halim family walks through the village to ask for forgiveness
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Family honour, dignity and codes of masculinity and revenge are hugely important in Upper Egypt. The Abdul-Halims beg forgiveness to avoid 22 of their own being killed in return.
Nervous policemen guard Abdul-Halims
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Police are edgy. After lengthy peace talks, no one knows if the penance - and a large payment of blood money - will end the vendetta which began in 1991 with a children's fight.



SEE ALSO:
Egyptians charged over feud deaths
01 Sep 02 |  Middle East



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