Controversial Egypt Islamist quits as Luxor governor

CAIRO, June 23 Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:03am EDT

CAIRO, June 23 (Reuters) - The new governor of Egypt's Luxor province, controversially appointed last week despite belonging to a hardline Islamist group that killed 58 tourists there in 1997, announced his resignation on Sunday.

"We will not accept that one drop of blood be spilt because of a position that I did not personally aspire to at any time," Adel Mohamed al-Khayat said in a news conference, saying the decision had been made after consultations with his party.

A member of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, which mounted campaigns against Egypt's military rulers and tourist industry at various times from the 1970s to 1990s, al-Khayat was appointed a week ago by President Mohamed Mursi in a move that showed the growing importance of al-Gamaa as an ally of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood.

Khayat had denied any personal role in militant attacks, having worked as a civil servant after a brief association with al-Gamaa as a student.

But his appointment prompted uproar in Luxor, in the southern heartlands of al-Gamaa support. Workers in the tourist industry around its pharaonic temples feared the new governor could put off visitors at a time when business is already poor due to continued unrest following the 2011 revolution. (Reporting by Cairo bureau; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Alison Williams)

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