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The BBC's Claire Doole reports from Geneva
"The Swiss investigation into the Luxor massacre is highly critical of Egypt's handling of the affair"
 real 28k

Friday, 10 March, 2000, 14:17 GMT
Swiss abandon Luxor massacre inquiry
Luxor
The Swiss were not singled out in the Luxor attack, the report says
The Swiss authorities have announced that they have closed their inquiry into a terrorist attack in the Egyptian city of Luxor in November 1997.

There were 36 Swiss among the 58 foreign tourists shot or hacked to death by Islamist militants in the attack at the temple of Queen Hatshepsut.

According to a Swiss federal police report, the Egyptian authorities took six months to answer requests from Switzerland for legal assistance.

Egyptian soldiers
Soldiers remove the body of a dead terrorist after the attack
The report says the Egyptians never returned the personal possessions of the Swiss tourists shot by Islamic extremists, and provided insufficient evidence from their own investigation.

The Egyptians never disclosed forensic documents or interrogation protocols, the report said.

Egypt has consistently refused Swiss demands for compensation.

New chapter

The Swiss decision to close the case followed a visit to Egypt last week by Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss, when he said the Luxor crisis was history.

Switzerland, he said, wanted to open a new chapter in bilateral relations.

Swiss officials have said that, based on Egyptian conclusions, the attack appears to have been financed by Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden.

Swiss federal police chief Urs von Daeniken last year said it appeared to have been ordered "directly or indirectly" by Mustafa Hamza, a member of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, or the Islamic Group, which has campaigned since 1992 to unseat Egypt's secular government and turn the country into an Islamic republic.

'Tragic coincidence'

The militants used Russian weapons, which were probably stolen during attacks on Egyptian police stations. Two pistols were stolen from security staff at the temple.

The 36-page Swiss report added that Mr Hamza may have given instructions for the attack from neighbouring Sudan.

An international arrest warrant remains in force for Mr Hamza.

The report said that Swiss officials were convinced that the attackers had not singled out Swiss nationals.

The number of Swiss killed was a "tragic coincidence" in an attack aimed at destabilising the Egyptian Government.

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17 Nov 98 | Middle East
Tourists return to Luxor
19 Nov 97 | World
What happened at Luxor?
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