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Egyptian dissident says assailant tried to burn him

Associated Press

A prominent Egyptian dissident said Saturday that he was attacked by a man on a motorcycle who ignited a flammable substance in his face, burning his head.

Ayman Nour, one of the few liberal campaigners for democracy in Egypt, accused elements within President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party of being behind the attack Friday night.

Nour said he was leaving his house in Cairo when a young man on a motorcycle called his name. When he looked toward the biker, a flame shot toward him, he said.

Nour spent nearly four years in prison after challenging Mubarak in a 2005 election. He said after his release in February that he would continue his campaign for democracy.

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The attack came a day after Nour pledged to supporters that he would run again for president in 2011 if his party nominates him. Nour also recently petitioned Mubarak, 81, to remove restrictions on his political and civic rights and criticized a major ruling party committee headed by Mubarak’s son, his heir apparent.

“This is wrong. This is the wrong message, for the wrong reason at the wrong time,” Nour said of the attack.

It comes two weeks before President Obama visits Egypt.

The Obama administration has hinted it will not hinge its relationship with Egypt on human rights demands, upsetting some of the nation’s activists.

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