Hussein bombing suspects to be released

Egypt’s state security prosecutor on Monday ordered the release of seven people accused over a deadly bazaar bombing in February 2009 that killed a French tourist, the official MENA news agency said.

Three Belgians, two Palestinians and two Egyptians have been ordered released, MENA said.

The interior ministry had accused the seven of having ties to Al-Qaeda and of carrying out an attack on Feb 22 last year at the famed Khan al-Khalili bazaar in Hussein district in downtown Cairo.  

According to MENA, five other suspects who hold Egyptian, French and British nationalities, remain in custody for further interrogation.

Hussein’s bombing was the first fatal attack against tourists in Egypt since bombs killed at least 23 people at tourist sites in the Sinai peninsula in 2006.

Last week, Egyptian security forces arrested a 49-year-old tailor on suspicion of trying to bomb a Cairo synagogue in retaliation for Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza.

Political analysts say they expect isolated incidents of violence but see no sign of a return of insurgency on the scale of the 1990s, when security forces fought gun battles to quash an organized Islamist rebellion.

Analysts say such incidents also aid the government’s push to extend emergency laws, in place since 1981, that sanction indefinite detention and military trials. Egypt’s parliament is set to discuss their extension in May.

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