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Missile strike strains fragile US-Pakistan tie

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Japan cult may have used agent found in Sudan

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Arab League calls missile attacks "blatant violation"

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Egypt says it not involved in strikes on Sudan

By Miral Fahmy, Reuters, 08/22/98

CAIRO - Egypt's foreign minister said on Saturday his country had nothing to do with U.S. strikes against Sudan this week despite its strained relations with Khartoum.

''This American action has nothing to do with Egyptian interests,'' Foreign Minister Amr Moussa told reporters.

''This action took place after the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. It has no relation to Egypt's ties with Sudan,'' he said, referring to the Thursday raids which Washington said were in retaliation for the August 7 bombings.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Friday said four planes took part in the Thursday night attack on the medicine factory located in north of Khartoum's city centre.

He told a rally he was sure the planes had taken off from a neighbouring country but he did not name that country. One convicted Egyptian Moslem militant separately implicated Cairo in the U.S. attack.

Cairo accuses Khartoum of harbouring militants bent on toppling the government while Sudan is angry that Egypt hosts Sudanese opposition meetings.

U.S. officials said cruise missiles launched from ships carried out the strikes against what Washington said were terrorist-related sites in Afghanistan and Sudan.

The U.S. attack has been criticised by many countries and also drew the ire of Egypt's largest militant group, the Gama'a al-Islamiya, which called them ''barbaric.''

Almost 1,200 people have been killed in Egypt since the Gama'a and other militants seeking a purist Islamist state took up arms against the government in 1992.

Yasser Sirry, who now heads the information centre Islamic Observation Centre, told Reuters by telephone from London that President Hosni Mubarak shamed the Egyptian people by allowing the U.S. warplanes to take off from Egyptian bases.

''This regime has brought disgrace to the Egyptian people by allowing its soil to be used to attack the brotherly Sudanese people,'' he said. Egypt says Sirry is the founder and financier of the militant Vanguards of Conquest group which it says is linked to related to the Jihad (Holy Struggle) group that killed former president Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Sirry was sentenced to death by a military court in 1993 for attempting to kill a former Egyptian prime minister. He denies the charges.

Citing unnamed military sources, Sirry said: ''I know that the planes took off from a Red Sea airbase or a base in Qena (in southern Egypt). They were four planes.''

Washington said that the cruise missiles were fired from war ships in the Red sea.



 

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