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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 01:41 GMT 02:41 UK
Egypt frees hundreds of militants
Attack at Luxor in 1997
Gamaa Islamiya was blamed for the Luxor attack
Egypt has released about 900 members of the militant group Gamaa Islamiya, the interior ministry has said.

It said the releases took place over the last 10 days and one of the founders of the group, Najeh Ibrahim, was among those freed.

Gamaa Islamiya was once Egypt's largest militant group. It mounted attacks on tourists and Christians in the 1990s.

But the group declared a ceasefire in 1999 and some of its imprisoned leaders went on to renounce violence.

The BBC's Heba Saleh in Cairo said the group had been largely crushed by the security forces before it declared its truce.

Attacks blamed on Gamaa Islamiya included the November 1997 assault at Luxor which killed 58 people, most of them foreign tourists.

The authorities released hundreds of members in 2003.

But human rights groups said there were still around 15,000 detainees in Egyptian jails who had never appeared before a judge.

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