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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 15:05 GMT
Man 'planned killing of minister'
Fathi Sorour, Egypt's parliamentary speaker
Fathi Sorour, one of those allegedly targeted by Dr Hamza
An Egyptian engineer planned to hire a hitman to kill a government minister there who he believed was stopping him getting work, the Old Bailey has heard.

Dr Mamdouh Hamza agreed a price with UK undercover police for the assassination of Egyptian minister Muhammad Sulieman, said prosecutor Timothy Langdale QC.

It was also alleged Dr Hamza, 58, wanted to make the death look like one of a series of assassinations.

Dr Hamza denies soliciting to murder a total of four people in July last year.

His alleged targets were:

  • Egypt's housing minister Muhammad Sulieman.

  • The chairman of the Egyptian House of Parliament, Fathi Sorour.

  • The ministry of parliamentary affairs, Kamal Al Shazli.

  • The chief of the president's office, Zakaria Azmi.

    Mr Langdale said Dr Hamza's "seriously-intentioned plan" was revealed in conversations with undercover detectives known only as Anthony and Tommy.

    The engineer had been involved in major projects in several countries and won awards in his field, but the undercover operation "revealed there was another side of his character and another preoccupation - amounting perhaps to an obsession", Mr Langdale said.

    "Hamza revealed to undercover officers that he wanted to hire someone to kill a long-standing and apparently powerful enemy of his in Egypt - his arch-enemy was Muhammad Sulieman.

    "He was the minister whose activities affected who was granted work in Egypt in terms of engineering projects.

    "Hamza went on at some length that Sulieman was killing his practice and reputation and taking projects from him."

    The defendant was arrested after his second meeting with the officers.

    He said later that he had not intended the people to be killed, but wanted to research how well they were protected.

    The trial continues.



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