//Egypt's al-Jazeera chief arrested

Egypt's al-Jazeera chief arrested

The Cairo bureau chief of TV channel al-Jazeera has been arrested by Egyptian police for allegedly spreading false information on the Sinai bombs.

The interior ministry said Hussein Abdel Ghani had falsely reported a blast in eastern Sharkia province.

Mr Abdel Ghani said in a phone call broadcast on the Qatar-based channel he was the victim of "a complete police kidnapping operation – beyond the law".

A triple bombing of the Sinai resort of Dahab on Monday killed 18 people.

On Wednesday, two suicide bombers attacked security personnel and foreign peacekeepers at el-Gorah in the Sinai Peninsula, but did not cause any injuries.

‘Inhumane’

The interior ministry said the arrest concerned the false reporting of an explosion in Sharkia on Wednesday.

A spokesman said: "[Hussein Abdel Ghani] said there were incidents in Sharkia and nothing happened. He’s spreading confusion.

"When he said there was an explosion in Sharkia, leading everyone to ask about it, about something that didn’t happen, where did he get that from?"

In his call broadcast on al-Jazeera, Mr Abdel Ghani said he was speaking from the chief prosecutor’s office in Cairo.

He denied the charge of "propagating false news".

Mr Abdel Ghani, who worked previously for the BBC’s Arabic service and has reported for al-Jazeera from Cairo since 1997, said he was bundled into a van in Dahab and driven away.

"I was treated in a very inhumane way," he said.

A member of the Egyptian journalists’ union, Gamal Fahmy, told AFP news agency: "We consider the arrest of the head of the al-Jazeera bureau to be an attack on press freedom in Egypt."

Al-Jazeera is watched by millions of Arab viewers but its reporters have been barred by a number of countries in the region.

Egypt has blamed local Bedouins linked to an Islamic militant group for the Dahab bombings.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4949996.stm