Egyptian Islamist groups denounce Tunisia assassination

Representatives of Jama'a al-Islamiya, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Nour Party condemned Thursday the assassination of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

The leftist lawyer was gunned down on Wednesday in an attack that sparked mass protests and prompted Tunisia's ruling Islamists to dissolve the government and promise early elections.

A National Salvation Front spokesperson, meanwhile, expressed fears that similar assassinations would take place in Egypt, but said the secular opposition would continue its struggle against President Mohamed Morsy's administration.

"The [Muslim] Brotherhood and other radical groups’ history of violence against those who defected suggest they will use violence against Egyptian politicians," spokesperson Hussein Abdel Ghany said.

At least two radical preachers and several Egyptian Islamist groups including Jama'a al-Islamiya have recently advocated the killing of members of certain opposition and protest groups.

The Muslim Brotherhood denounced Belaid's assassination, while spokesperson Ahmed Aref described it as a "hideous crime."

Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, the group's lawyer, said that those who commit such crimes should be immediately brought to trial and severely punished. He also rejected speculation that Islamist groups have lists of liberal and opposition figures targeted for assassination.

Aboud al-Zomor, a member of Jama'a al-Islamiya's governing council, said, "Politics should be exercised using peaceful means. Assassinations are altogether rejected."

Abdallah Batran, the head of the Nour Party's parliamentary bloc, added, "The party condemns the assassination of a prominent opposition figure in Tunisia and all forms of violence as well as the use of arms to counter thought …"

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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