Egypt's antiquities authority closed the largest of the Giza pyramids Friday following rumours that groups would try to hold spiritual ceremonies on the site at 11.11 a.m. on November 11, 2011.

The authority's head, Mustafa Amin, said in a statement on Friday that the pyramid of Khufu, also known as Cheops, would be closed to visitors until Saturday morning for “necessary maintenance.”

The closure follows a string of unconfirmed reports in local media that unidentified groups would try to hold “Jewish” or “Masonic” rites on the site to take advantage of mysterious powers coming from the pyramid on the rare date. Mr. Amin called all reports of planned ceremonies at the site “completely lacking in truth.”

The complex's director, Ali al-Asfar, said on Friday that an Egyptian company requested permission last month to hold an event called “hug the pyramid,” in which 120 people would join hands around the ancient burial structure. The authority declined the request a week ago, Mr. Asfar said, but that did not stop internet campaigns to prevent the event from taking place.

“It has been a big cause now on Facebook and Twitter for many people to write about,” Mr. Asfar said. — AP

Keywords: Giza pyramids

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