Extremist Moslem gunmen kidnaped a former Cabinet minister yesterday and threatened to kill him today unless the Egyptian government frees 60 jailed members of their outlawed sect.
Police said they had rounded up 100 suspects, including all members of the sect previously release from prison, in the search for Mohamed Zahabi, who was minister of religious affairs for eight months last year. He is an outspoken opponent of the Moslem extremist. "Atonement and Immigration" group.
The ultra-religious band has been accused of attempting to overthrow the government of President Anwar Sadat, which it considers heretic. It has been campaingning for liquidation of banks and destruction of night clubs and liquor stores.
Police said Zahabi was dragged from his home by four men disguished as police and armed with submachine guns. Members of his family screamed as he was driven off and neighbors pouring into the street surrounded a second car.
Police said the driver refused to answer questions and told them: "I have not been instructed to speak by my emir."
The group phoned demands to news agencies, asking freedom for the 60 prisoners, $500,000 in ransom, publication of a statement and apology for past criticism. Some calls suggested that other kidnapings would follow if demands were not met by noon (6 a.m. EDT.) today.