Controversial Egypt Islamist quits as Luxor governor after uproar there

(Traditional dancers perform during a show about the history of Pharaohs in Hurghada, about 464 km (288 miles) from the capital Cairo, June 17, 2013. Seen in the backdrop are mock-ups of a sphinx (R) and the temples of Abu Simbel (L), Karnak (2nd L) and Luxor (2nd R). REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

The new governor of Egypt’s Luxor province, controversially appointed last week despite belonging to a hardline Islamist group that killed 58 tourists there in 1997, announced his resignation on Sunday.

“We will not accept that one drop of blood be spilt because of a position that I did not personally aspire to at any time,” Adel Mohamed al-Khayat said in a news conference, saying the decision had been made after consultations with his party.

A member of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, which mounted campaigns against Egypt’s military rulers and tourist industry at various times from the 1970s to 1990s, al-Khayat was appointed a week ago by President Mohamed Mursi in a move that showed the growing importance of al-Gamaa as an ally of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Khayat had denied any personal role in militant attacks, having worked as a civil servant after a brief association with al-Gamaa as a student.

Egypt minister protests over Islamist governor for Luxor tourist area

(A protester throws a chain next to a graffiti on the wall depicting the newly appointed governor of Luxor Adel Mohamed al-Khayat as a terrorist while protests gather in front of the goverorate building to protest his appointment in Luxor, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer )

Egypt’s tourism minister tendered his resignation on Tuesday over President Mohamed Mursi’s decision to appoint as governor of Luxor a member of a hardline Islamist group blamed for slaughtering 58 tourists there in 1997.

Prime Minister Hisham Kandil did not accept the resignation of Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou, who remains in the post for now. However, the move pointed to a split in government over an appointment that one critic called “the last nail in the coffin” of the tourism industry.