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Tuesday, September 7, 1999 Published at 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK

World: Middle East

Police kill four Islamists in Cairo

The King of Jordan visits Mr Mubarak after Monday's assassination attempt

Police in Egypt have shot dead four suspected members of the country's main Islamic militant group during a gun battle in the outskirts of Cairo.

Security sources identified them as a leader and three other members of the Gama'at al-Islamiya (Islamic League), which has conducted a violent campaign aimed at the overthrow of Egypt's secular government.

The BBC's Jim Muir: "The authorities have kept up their determination to root out violent extremists ruthlessly"
They were killed after opening fire on police who had come to arrest them in an apartment in the suburb of Giza.

Police found stocks of weapons, including four automatic rifles, in the apartment.

The dead included Farid Kidwani, who was wanted for questioning in connection with attacks in southern Egypt which left several policemen and Coptic Christians dead.

Police followed the four to the Cairo apartment from the southern city of Minya, where Mr Kidwani was the group's regional leader, officials said.

The gun battle came on the day after state security guards shot dead a man they said had attempted an attack with a "sharp instrument" on President Mubarak.

Luxor attack

Islamic militants were responsible for the Luxor massacre in November 1997, in which 60 foreign tourists were killed.

[ image: The Port Said home of the man who attacked Mr Mubarak]
The Port Said home of the man who attacked Mr Mubarak
Since then, there has been no major violent attack by the Islamists.

Militant groups in Egypt are thought to have killed about 1,200 people - many of them tourists - in a seven-year campaign of violence.

The Mubarak government responded with a harsh crackdown on the militants, which culminated in a declaration that the movement had been crushed.

The leaders of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya announced in March that they had renounced their armed struggle.

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