DUBAI: A man described as a leader of al-Qaedaâ€™s wing in Egypt called for attacks on Israeli and Western targets in the Arab worldâ€™s most populous country in support of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
â€˜O heroes, strike … all the Zionist-Crusader targets in the land of Egypt without shedding the blood of Muslims,â€™ Mohamed Hakaima, a former leader of Egyptâ€™s Gamaâ€™a Islamiya militant group, said in a statement posted on the Internet.
Egyptian experts on Islamist groups say they doubt al-Qaeda has an organised presence in Egypt or that Hakaima, who is believed to be in Afghanistan, has followers in the country.
Kamal Habib, a former Gamaâ€™a leader, told Reuters on Sunday: â€˜I donâ€™t believe that al- Qaeda has a presence in Egypt. I donâ€™t think that Hakaima has any supporters in Egypt.â€™
â€˜Al-Qaeda does not have a presence in the organisational sense. There may be some people who believe in the ideas of al-Qaeda,â€™ added Habib, who is now an expert on Islamist groups.