CAIRO – A jihadist leader with links to the Taliban has warned Egypt’s security authorities to destroy the Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza.
The jihadist Murgan Salem al-Gohary told Egypt’s privately-owned Dream TV2 channel over the weekend that the Sphinx and pyramids are ‘idolatrous’ and must be destroyed.
The newspaper said Gohary is a jihadist leader with links to the Taliban and had previously helped destroy Buddha statues in Afghanistan 10 years ago.
“The idols and statutes that fill Egypt must be destroyed. Muslims are tasked with applying the teachings of Islam and removing these idols, just like we did in Afghanistan when we smashed the Buddha statues,” Gohary said.
The Taliban destroyed a large number of Buddhist treasures in Afghanistan, including statues that were examples of the country’s long Buddhist history.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Gohary traveled to Afghanistan after serving two prison sentences under then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
After his sojourn in Afghanistan, where he was injured in an US air strike, the Salafist leader ventured to Syria where he was arrested and extradited to Egypt.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry source said officials are taking the threats seriously and have “taken the necessary precautions to prevent violations of the law or any abuses of anything in the public domain or archaeological treasures including the pyramids.”
“They are a source of national income and they bring tourists to Egypt,” the security source said.
Later on Thursday, Egypt’s Coalition to Support Tourism said Gohary’s threats would harm the country’s tourism industry, it added.
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