About 80 members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad were released from an Egyptian jail on Oct. 17. Some had been detained without trial, and others had been sentenced by a Cairo state security court to lengthy jail terms for membership in a terror organization and threatening Egypt’s national security.
The release followed an Oct. 14 meeting between senior Islamic Jihad officials, led by the organization’s head, Ziad Nahala, and senior Egyptian intelligence officials. Nahala, who arrived in Cairo from Beirut, was joined by leaders of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, from Gaza, including the commander of the northern division, Bahaa Abu el-Atta, whom Israel considers a serial troublemaker. These were not the first talks between an Islamic Jihad delegation and heads of Egyptian intelligence, but in the past, they had always been joined by Hamas representatives summoned to Cairo to discuss cease-fire agreements with Israel. This was the first time that they were called to Cairo alone to resolve issues between Egypt and their organization, which is supported by Iran.