CAIRO - Israel is a "cancer" in the Middle East and its peace deal with Egypt should be submitted to a referendum, the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brothers said in an interview published Thursday.
"I declared that we will not recognize Israel which is an alien entity in the region. And we expect the demise of this cancer soon...," Mohammed Mehdi Akef told the state-owned English language Ahram Weekly.
Egypt signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1979, becoming the first Arab country to establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
Islamists opposed to the deal assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 for signing the Camp David accord and opposition to the normalisation of relations with Israel remains strong in Egypt.
Akef stopped short of demanding the peace agreement be scrapped but suggested it should be submitted to a popular referendum.
"That is for the people to decide... If I had the power I would put it to the people," he said.
The banned but tolerated Brotherhood won 20 percent of the seats in the 454-strong parliament, making it the largest opposition bloc in the house.