Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 - Egypt

No terrorist-related deaths were reported in Egypt in 1999. In early September, a lone assailant attacked President Hosni Mubarak during a campaign rally in Port Said. Mubarak was wounded slightly, but it is unclear whether the attack had links to terrorism. The absence of international terrorist incidents in 1999 is attributable in part to the unilateral cease-fire that Egypt's largest terrorist group, al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, issued in March and in part to successful Egyptian counterterrorist efforts. Al-Gama'at's incarcerated spiritual leader, Shaykh Umar Abd al-Rahman, initiated the cease-fire, which senior Gama'at leaders imprisoned in Egypt later endorsed. Al-Gama'at's external leaders also endorsed the cease-fire in an attempt to negotiate with the Egyptian Government for the release of their jailed comrades. Although Cairo said publicly it would not negotiate with al-Gama'at, it released more than 2,000 Gama'at prisoners during the year. The Egyptian Government continued to arrest other Gama'at members in Egypt, and security officials in September disrupted a Gama'at cell outside Cairo, resulting in the death of Farid Kidwani, the group's operational leader in Egypt.

The Egyptian Government tried and convicted more than 100 Egyptian extremists in April, including Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) members responsible for planning an attack against the US Embassy in Albania in August 1998. A faction of the EIJ closely allied to Usama Bin Ladin's organization continued to levy threats against the United States.

Gama'at leader Rifa'i Taha Musa – who is closely associated with Bin Ladin – broke ranks with other Gama'at leaders, threatening anti-US action in October and warning in late November of another attack similar to the one at Luxor in November 1997 that killed 58 foreign tourists. International counterterrorist cooperation remained a key foreign policy priority for the Egyptian Government in 1999.


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