One wonders if Tharwat Salah Shehata issued this statement at the request or direction of anyone in the Iranian high command. “Egyptian Islamic Jihad call for end to the ‘Pharaoh,” by Mohammed Al Shafey for Asharq Al-Awsat, February 3 (thanks to Mahmud):
London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Two days after the Iranian parliament expressed its support for “the Egyptian nation’s uprising and movement against tyranny” the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group issued a statement supporting the explosive protests that have been taking place in Egypt and calling for “the elimination of the pharaoh and his lackeys” in a reference to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his regime. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad was implicated in the assassination of late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, who was succeeded by Mubarak.
Sources close to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group have informed Asharq Al-Awsat that this statement was issued from the Iranian capital Tehran, where a number of the group’s leadership sought refuge approximately two decades ago after being sentenced to death in Egypt. Dozens of senior members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad are also currently being detained in Egyptian prisons, whilst dozens of other are living in exile, particularly in Iran which welcomed the group for the part it played in the assassination of Sadat, in retaliation for his signing a peace agreement with Israeli in 1979. This statement, which was issued by the lawyer Tharwat Salah Shehata on behalf of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, was “in solidarity with the proud people of Egypt…and their steadfast bravery and courage in the face of tyranny. We stress that they must complete their journey and eliminate the pharaoh and his lackeys.”
The Egyptian Islamic Jihad statement also said “we, in the Islamic Jihad group, in solidarity with our Muslim brothers in Egypt humbly pray to Gold [sic!] Almighty to accept their dead as martyrs and heal their wounds. We wish we could be in the forefront of their ranks and share in their honor…however we have been prohibited” in reference to the detention of many Egyptian Islamic Jihad members in “Tora [prison], Al-Aqrab high security [prison], and Abu Zaabal [prison].” The statement said that these prisons “are overcrowded with mujahedeen who reject unjust sanctions for life, whilst the rest of us have been forced to leave the country following the regime’s war against us.”
After the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group issued this statement, sources close to the group told Asharq Al-Awsat that “this statement was issued from Tehran where Shehata is currently residing.” The source revealed that Shehata traveled to Iran after he moved closer to what the source described as “Iranian Shiite [tendencies]” during the mid-eighties. The source also revealed that Shehata had been arrested a number of times in Egypt, including in 1981, 1984, and 1986, and that he moved closer to Iran and Iranian Shi’ism after he left Egypt and was sentenced to death in absentia. The source also told Asharq Al-Awsat that Shehata was a well-known lawyer in Egypt’s Al-Sharqiya province before he became involved with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group and the Al-Jamaa Islamiya….