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Monday, August 24, 1998 Published at 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK

World: Middle East

Officers await Luxor negligence verdicts

A victim is stretchered from the Luxor carnage

A disciplinary hearing for three police officers, charged with negligence in the wake of the Luxor massacre, is nearing its conclusion in Egypt.

Two senior officers at the resort have already been sacked for ignoring warnings that Luxor may have been be the target for an attack.

[ image:  ]
Islamic militants killed 58 tourists in a gun attack last November.

The gunmen said they had intended only to kidnap visitors and that security forces fired the first shots prompting the bloodbath.

Their account was later dismissed by survivors of the gun battle at the ancient Temple of Hatshepsut.

But when President Hosni Mubarak visited the scene he described security as "laughable".

[ image: President Mubarak: sacked minister]
President Mubarak: sacked minister
Shortly after the president sacked his interior minister.

The head of Luxor police, General Medhat al-Shanawani, and his deputy were sacked and had their pensions cut by a disciplinary tribunal in June.

In the latest hearings three lower ranking officers are waiting to hear their fate.

Gamaat al-Islamiya, the biggest militant Muslim organisation in Egypt, admitted the attack.

It struck at the heart of Egypt's tourism industry, which is vital to the country's economy.

Industry experts say it could be another two years before visitors are tempted back in the same numbers as before the massacre.

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