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Al-Jazeera TV scribe held in Egypt

Hussein Abdel Ghani was accused of broadcasting false information liable to harm Egypt's reputation.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2006 13:53 IST

The Egypt bureau chief of Arab satellite television channel Al-Jazeera was arrested while covering the aftermath of deadly attacks in the Red Sea resort of Dahab, the station reported on Thursday.

Hussein Abdel Ghani was accused of broadcasting false information liable to harm Egypt's reputation, it said, as fellow journalists condemned the arrest as an attack on the freedom of the press.

Earlier on Wednesday, Al-Jazeera reported that an attack had targeted policemen in the town of Belbeis, northeast of Cairo.

Other media said a police station had been fired on, quoting witnesses and security sources, but the interior ministry later issued a denial, which Al-Jazeera also carried.

Twin suicide attacks targeting security personnel rocked northern Sinai near the Gaza Strip but caused no casualties on Wednesday, two days after triple bombings killed at least 18 people in Dahab.

Officials of the Egyptian journalists' trade union went to assist at Ghani's interrogation by prosecutors of the state security court after he was brought to Cairo from Dahab.

One of them, Gamal Fahmy, told the agency, "We consider the arrest of the head of the Al-Jazeera bureau to be an attack on press freedom in Egypt.

"For years the journalists' union has been demanding the abolition of laws restricting press freedom, including the legislation under which Abdel Ghani faces prosecution.

First Published: Apr 27, 2006 12:53 IST