Netanyahu: Egypt Could Fall Into Hands of Radical Islamists

Prime Minister warned that after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leaves power, the country could go in the direction of Iran.

Egypt could fall into the hands of radical Islamists as a result of the country's uprising, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

Netanyahu warned about the result of the riots in Egypt over the past two weeks while speaking at an event for European diplomats held at the Knesset on Monday.

"Egyptians can choose a state with secular reforms. However, there is also another possibility that the Islamists will exploit the situation in order to gain governance over the country and lead it backward," the Prime Minister said.

"The third possibility is that [Egypt] will go in the direction of Iran," Netanyahu said, adding that they would "oppress the country and threaten all those surrounding it."

Netanyahu - Emil Salman - Feb. 7, 2011
Emil Salman

In Israel's neighboring Egypt, demonstrations and riots have continued unabated for two weeks with protests insisting that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leave the government.

When the protests began at the end of last month, the Prime Minister issued a similar warning, saying that a radical regime could take over in Mubarak's place.

"Our real fear is of a situation that could develop ... and which has already developed in several countries including Iran itself -- repressive regimes of radical Islam," said Netanyahu.

Netanyahu added that although the protests may not be motivated by religious extremism, "in a situation of chaos, an organized Islamist body can seize control of a country. It happened in Iran. It happened in other instances".