Cairo seeks Iranian link to terror cell
Egyptian spokesman tells 'Post' only indirect link between Teheran, Hizbullah established at this point.
By BRENDA GAZZAR, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT, CAIRO
May 7, 2009 22:37
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(photo credit: AP [file])
Egypt has yet to establish a direct connection between Iran and the alleged Hizbullah terror cell recently discovered on it soil, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said this week.
"We need to establish a link first," spokesman Hossam Zaki told The Jerusalem Post when asked about Teheran's involvement with the cell. "The link has been established with Hizbullah, which in our view has its Iranian links, which is an indirect link."
Teheran has supported Hizbullah financially and militarily but it is unclear to what extent the Islamic republic was involved in the cell. Much of the Egyptian media has taken a very harsh stance toward what it believes to be Iran's involvement in the affair.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian government is trying to determine the sources of "money transfers from abroad" sent to members of the 49-member cell, a member of the cell's defense team told the Post.
Twenty-two of the suspects are in detention while the rest are apparently at large. Some have been in custody for about six months.
Egypt accuses the cell of planning attacks against Israeli targets and Egyptian installations throughout the country. Lebanon-based Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah admitted that one of the men - known as Sami Shehab - was a member of Hizbullah, but he said that he and some 10 others had been helping to smuggle arms into Gaza, and denied any intention to carry out attacks in Egypt.
In an apparent message to Iran, President Hosni Mubarak warned "regional forces" last month against interfering with Egypt.
"We are aware of your plans... We will expose your plot and catch you," he promised." Stop exploiting the Palestinian issue and "be warned of Egypt's fury."