Islamic groups threaten attacks against U.S. if Sheik harmed Coalition issues joint declaration

August 27, 1993|By Newsday

CAIRO, Egypt -- Islamic fundamentalists yesterday threatened to attack American targets if Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman is harmed.

In a joint declaration, a coalition of Islamic groups warned that they would "escalate violence against American installations and interests in Egypt and worldwide if the sheik is harmed in any way by this American regime."

The groups "will stand in one trench to confront these provocative acts by the American regime and its agents in Egypt . . and will not surrender regardless of what that might cost."

The statement was signed by the Islamic Currents, a coalition that includes the Gama'a al-Islamiya, or Islamic Group, whose spiritual leader is Sheik Abdel-Rahman. Also signing the joint statement were the Vanguards of Conquest and the Jihad. The groups have been blamed for a violent 20-month campaign to topple Egypt's government.

Sheik Abdel-Rahman is accused of masterminding a ring that planned "a war of urban terrorism" through kidnappings, bombings and assassinations, including a plot to kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian government did not comment on the charges yesterday.

The news of the new charges also caught Sheik Abdel-Rahman's family by surprise, said his son, Abdallah, 18, in Farfoum, 50 miles southwest of Cairo. "My mother and brothers don't know yet because I just learned what happened now," he told Newsday.

The sheik "called us just last Tuesday and he told us that thanks to God everything is all right. He was not worried because he never worries wherever he is or whatever is the situation that he is facing. He fears nobody except God," his son said.

"We pray a lot for him and we rely on God to show the truth," his son said. "He has been accused several times before and was found innocent. I'm optimistic," he said.

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