Egypt Arrests Three Al-Qeda Linked Men Over Planned Attack On Embassy

Mohammed Ibrahim
Mohammed Ibrahim

Egypt’s interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, has said that authorities have arrested three al-Qaeda-linked men suspected of planning to carry out suicide attacks on government buildings and an unspecified foreign embassy.

Ibrahim on Saturday named the suspects as Amr Mohammed Abu al-Ela Aqida, Mohammed Abdel-Halim Hemaida Saleh and Mohammed Mostafa Mohammed Ibrahim Bayoumi. Two of the men were detained in the northern coastal city of Alexandria, while the third was arrested in Cairo.

Speaking to a news conference, Ibrahim stated that the men, one of whom received training in Pakistan and Iran, had been in contact with Dawood al-Assady, a leader of al-Qaeda in southeast Asian countries.

He also said authorities captured the suspects with 10 kg of ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser and key ingredient in homemade explosives, and computer instructions on bomb-making.

He said the men were trying to take advantage of the country’s political turmoil to “target innocent civilians and attack foreign diplomatic missions”.

On one of the men’s computers, security officials also discovered statements issued by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the group’s arm in North Africa, with information on how to make bombs and rockets, and ways of collecting intelligence.

Ibrahim said the suspects are also believed to have links with the so-called “Nasr City terror cell”, which was broken up last year and its members arrested on accusations of plotting attacks against public figures in Egypt.

The minister however denied that al-Qaeda is active in Egypt, but said the three men were in contact with al-Qaeda members abroad.

Security challenges have been rising in Egypt for the past two years, with bold attacks like one that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in the northern Sinai Peninsula last year becoming common.