"They made us get down on our knees," Ms Dousse said. "And then they started shooting. A man who was very heavy fell on me and the lady behind me also covered me ... They shot me in the arm and leg, and then they started again shooting those who were still alive in the head." Ms Dousse, with incredible presence of mind, smeared the blood of her dead friends over her face and hands so that she should also appear dead. Then the gunmen came back to look for more wounded to kill, some of them with knives. Yet never have Egypt's "Islamist" rebels so methodically forced their victims to kneel, Algerian-style, before shooting or stabbing them to death. [...]
So it is not surprising that Ms Dousse noticed the youth of the murderers at Luxor. And their strange behaviour. A sense of betrayal can breed fearful deeds - as the Algerians know to their cost - and the cold-blooded "executions" may well have been the result. And since some of the most ghastly of Algeria's killers are believed to be on drugs during their orgies of blood, so Egypt's new "Gema'a" teenagers may be encouraged to forget their inhibitions. Heroin and hashish are perennial problems among Egypt's poor.
Yesterday morning, a statement from the "Gema'a" was faxed to Reuters news agency in Cairo, apparently without the usual Koranic inscription at the top, claiming that the Luxor gunmen had been trying to kidnap the tourists in exchange for Omar Abdel Rahman, jailed in the United States for bombing conspiracy.
The police, it said, killed the tourists when they confronted the gunmen. It was a lie. But it was a statement which surely came from the hand of an angry and perhaps younger man than usual. [...] [T]he torture rooms will be open for business already on the third floor of police headquarters in Lazoughly street.
The repression might even prove to be the fire that resolidifies the "Gema'a" again in hatred at the government - which just might be the cruel reasoning behind Monday's atrocity.
The Independent, Nov. 19, 1997
The Muslim world has reacted quickly to denounce the massacre of tourists.
Read the reactions from around the world as reported by Reuters.
``We reject the attack against foreigners who asked permission and safety to enter our countries,'' Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, in Palestine.
In Lebanon the attack was condemned not only by the government but also by the Lebanese Jamaa Islamiye (Islamic Group). It said the massacre was aimed at weakening Egypt and Arab and Moslem nations
and ``harms Islam more than it harms any other party.''
Hizbollah, fighting to oust Israeli occupation troops from south Lebanon, said the attack, ``serves neither the interest of the assailants nor the confrontation with the Zionist enemy.''
``We consider that attracting friendly foreign powers on the international level serves our cause in the confrontation and shocking public opinion within these forces by similar attacks would harm our plan and serve thegoals of the enemy,'' it said in a statement.
An Iranian government spokesman said, ``The spread of this sinister phenomenon has served the interests of domineering and profit-seeking foreigners who have used the turmoil in theregion to extend their influence, . . . So much so that some experts...do not think it is far-fetched to believe this operation was a foreign and Zionist (Israeli) plot. But no matter which particular persons were behind this incident, it only benefits the enemy.''