CAIRO — Egypt's interior minister on Tuesday said 19 Arabs suspected of links to al-Qaida were arrested last month in Egypt en route to Iraq.
Habib el-Adly said the militants, who are from Tunisia and Libya, were using Egypt as a transit point trying to make their way to Iraq to join al-Qaida groups there.
Adly said weapons, ammunition and documents related to al-Qaida were confiscated with the suspects.
El-Adly stressed that those arrested have no connection to the New Year's Day suicide bombing of a Christian Coptic church in the port city of Alexandria that killed 21 people. Egypt has blamed that attack on the Palestinian Army of Islam, another al-Qaida inspired group.
The minister's remarks were published in Egypt's leading Al-Ahram daily.