1 Jan 2012

Egypt assures US it will stop raids

12:19 am on 1 January 2012

A senior US official says Egypt has assured the Washington it will stop raids on the offices of pro-democracy and human rights groups.

On Thursday, Egyptian police and soldiers raided the offices of 17 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the capital, saying they were operating without licences and with illegal foreign funding.

However, the BBC quotes analysts as saying the raids were part of a broader move by the ruling military council to silence dissent after months of criticism of its human rights record.

The US official says the US ambassador to Cairo has also been assured that property seized by Egyptian security forces during the raids will be returned to the organisations, which include two based in the US.

The raids have been condemned by Washington, the United Nations and Germany.