Al-Hayat learned that security authorities in the Sinai have managed to arrest five people in possession of heavy weapons who were planning to carry out armed attacks on tourist resorts in South Sinai (Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab).
Also, Egyptian police have arrested four other people in possession of large quantities of gunpowder used in the manufacture of explosives who are suspected to be involved with the terrorist cell in Nasr City.
According to sources, these latest events pushed the National Security Agency to readdress the issue of jihadists, especially those who resisted inquiries carried out by Muslim leaders in the 1990s. Many names were placed on the list of suspicion. The security apparatus also circulated the names of jihadist leaders who escaped from prison at the beginning of the 2011 revolution via seaports and airports.
Security sources told Al-Hayat that a number of jihadists have taken advantage of the security void to infiltrate into Libya, while others headed to Gaza. The sources added that some of the jihadists managed to return and settle in the Sinai. Other sources said some seek to return to Egypt in order to form armed groups in cooperation with non-Egyptians.
Egyptian authorities arrested five people, including an officer resigned from the army, on charges of forming a terrorist cell, whose members are linked to the attack against the United States consulate in Benghazi, according to the investigations.
On Friday [Oct. 26], according to military sources, Egyptian army and police managed to capture five jihadists while they were inside a tent at the foot of a mountain near the border with Gaza. Automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades were also found in the tent.
According to the preliminary investigations, the detainees were planning a terrorist attack in South Sinai during the first days of Eid al-Adha. It must be noted that 100 jihadists have been arrested since the beginning of Operation Nisr, which began in early September in the Sinai.
In the same context, a senior security source said there is new evidence of terrorist cells spreading across several governorates of Egypt. The source added that in light of the new information, the Ministry of Interior will delay the release of a statement that reveals the circumstances of the accident of the “terrorist cell in Nasr City.”
The source recalled the arrests of Bassam al-Sayed Ibrahim, a fugitive from Wadi Natrun prison, and his brother Haitham, who were both affiliated with a jihadist organization. The men were arrested on Tanta Kafr Road.
A grenade, explosive materials and wires used in the manufacture of explosives were found in the car in which the jihadists were travelling.
Moreover, the source added that this incident happened by coincidence, even though it led the National Security Agency to the secret arms cache. Grenades, automatic rifles, explosives and anti-tank missiles were found inside a gymnasium in the 10th district (east of Cairo).
Inside the gymnasium was also a man, named Karim Essam, who died after detonating an explosive device, during an exchange of fire with security forces that stormed the premises. Four of the deceased jihadist’s aides were arrested, including a Tunisian national.
In light of this incident and the pertinent evidence, the police managed to track down a cache of high explosive (TNT), which is believed to be linked with the terrorist cells in one of the districts in the Burj al-Arab area, west of Alexandria.
The security sources added yesterday [Oct.29] that the police arrested four people, from Al-Arish and Ismailia regions, in Giza Governorate. They were found in possession of materials used in the manufacture of explosives. The detainees confessed that they acquired the explosive materials from a farm owner and were planning to transfer them to Sinai.
The investigation will focus on how closely the detainees are linked to the “terrorist cell of Nasr City.”
Another security source considered that it is too early to determine the number of jihadist cells in Egyptian governorates. However, the source confirmed that investigations revealed that these cells are aiming to target vital facilities in the country, stressing that “these are organizational clustered cells, whose number is yet to be identified.” Intensive investigations are being conducted to determine the identity and numbers of the cells, the source added.