Gunmen Shoot At Ex-Minister’s Home; He’s OK
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Four gunmen in a speeding car opened fire Thursday at a balcony where a former interior minister usually relaxes in the evening, but the official said he was inside at the time and unharmed.
Two bystanders suffered unspecified injuries in the attack on the house of Nabawi Ismail, who served under the late President Anwar Sadat, according to a statement by the Ministry of the Interior.
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, a calm-sounding Ismail said he was ″feeling very well.″
Explaining the timing of the 8 p.m. assault, he said, ″I often sit out in the balcony at that time of evening.″
He added, however, that he was inside at the time, and ″I only heard the rapid gunfire.″
The interior ministry statement, distributed by the state-run Middle East News Agency, quoted eyewitnesses as saying four gunmen, opened fire randomly at Ismail’s house.
The statement said only two men standing by in the street were injured. It did not mention the degrees of injury.
Ismail’s security guards tried to catch the gunmen, but they got away and sped off, the statement said.
Security officials launched a search for the gunmen.
Ismail’s house has been under tight security, especially since the May 6 attempt on the life of his successor, Hassan Abu Basha.
Abu Basha was attacked in front of his home by two men who sped away in a waiting pickup truck.
Security authorities have rounded up thousands of Moslem fundamentalists widely believed to be responsible for the attack, but no charges have been pressed to date.
As minister in charge of security under President Hosni Mubarak, Abu Basha oversaw the arrests of Moslem fundamentalists blamed for an abortive attempt to overthrow the government after Sadat’s slaying.
Ismail became interior minister in May 1980 and was in charge of police and security in 1981 when Sadat ordered a massive crackdown of about 1,536 people charged with inciting religious strife.
Sadat was assassinated about a month after the crackdown, and Ismail remained in his position until 1982, when Mubarak replaced him with Abu Basha.