Stabbed novelist condemns militants

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CAIRO - Naguib Mahfouz, the 1988 Nobel Prize-winning novelist, yesterday condemned terrorism as he lay in hospital recovering from a stabbing attack by a suspected Muslim militant on Friday night.

Egyptian television broadcast film footage in which Mr Mahfouz spoke to government officials who visited him at the police hospital where he was recuperating from stab wounds in his neck.

'I pray to God to make the police victorious over terrorism and to purify Egypt from this evil, in defence of people, freedom and Islam,' he told the Interior Minister, Hassan al-Alfi.

The television also showed the Prime Minister, Atef Sedki, and the Finance Minister, Mohammed al-Razzaz, in the hospital room. Mr Mahfouz, 83, told Mr Razzaz: 'I've paid all my taxes.' Reuter