UPDATE: Egypt's Ghad Al-Thawra Party torched by masked men
Six unknown perpetrators set fire to headquarters of liberal opposition Ghad Al-Thawra Party in Cairo's downtown late on Friday
Ahram Online, Friday 22 Feb 2013
Headquarters of the liberal opposition Ghad Al-Thawra Party was torched on Friday by masked men, shortly after party founder Ayman Nour had said he wouldn't mind taking up a leadership position if invited by Egypt President Mohamed Morsi.
Mohamed Hassan, senior member of the party, told Ahram Online that unknown men wearing masks had entered the headquarters, located in Cairo's downtown, and set it ablaze with fire coming out of the office through windows. No injuries were reported though.
Another party member, Essam Badawi, said to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language website the arson attack had been carried out by six assailants holding bladed weapons and firearms. He was held captive for a short while along with his colleague Sherif Mekawy.
The duo were told not to speak and ordered by the intruders to sit in Nour's office, before the latter "stole documents and videotapes from the office."
"Then they spilled petrol all over the place," Badawi recollected. "Mekawy asked them not to set the place on fire while we're inside; they said they would let us go as soon as they finish."
Opposition figure Nour, who met with the president last week, said in an interview published Thursday on Ahram Arabic newspaper that he was ready to head the government if he were asked to, a statement that prompted fierce criticism against him on social media.
It is not clear, however, if his statements instigated the attack on the headquarters of Ghad Al-Thawra Party. "I cannot accuse anyone of scheming this incident," Badawi said.
Morsi and the incumbent Hisham Qandil-led cabinet are both under fire for increasing political tensions and economic woes.