Egypt begins questioning 'Nasr terror cell' suspects

Egyptian security service suspects eight men of plotting major attack, assassinations with aim to overthrow Morsi government.

October 31, 2012 18:32
2 minute read.
Egyptian police stand guard in Tahrir Square

Egyptian police 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Security officials began to interrogate eight men suspected of belonging to a terrorist cell in Nasr City, the Egyptian media reported.

The suspects are accused of possessing weapons and plotting to assassinate public figures with the aim of overthrowing the government.

Egyptian police killed one terror suspect and arrested eight others during a raid last Wednesday on an apartment in Nasr City, east of Cairo.

Security forces suspect that the alleged terrorist cell planned to attack Egypt’s interior ministry in Cairo and to assassinate political figures, according to Egyptian media reports.

The terror suspect, who died in the attack, allegedly tried to throw a bomb at police, which detonated in the apartment, killing him, al-Ahram newspaper reported.

Also on Wednesday the London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported that Egyptian security authorities have also arrested jihadist leader Adel Awad Shehto on charges of founding the Nasr City terror cell.

Al-Hayat cited Shehto’s attorney, Magdy Salem, saying that a former army officer, Tarek Abul Azm, was also arrested.

Yasser Ali, a spokesman for president Mohamed Morsi, announced on Wednesday that security officials would report more information when the investigation into the cell is completed.

According to Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm, the FBI assisted Egyptian security officials in uncovering the cell, allegedly involved in last month’s terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which the ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed.

The raided apartment contained a massive weapons cache, including explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition, the Egyptian media cited security sources as saying.

Some Egyptian newspapers also reported Thursday that security officials have denied reports that Egypt has arrested an armed terrorist cell in Sinai that planned to carry out attacks against tourist facilities in Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab.

Egypt’s al-Wafd news site said that Gen. Magdy Moussa, director of criminal investigations in the south Sinai security directorate, said that Egyptian police were in full control of south Sinai.

Also on Thursday, the London- based Arabic newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that an unnamed Egyptian security source had confirmed Egyptian media reports that residents had discovered an “explosive belt” on Tuesday in the northern Sinai city of Rafah on Egypt’s Gaza border.

The source said the belt was found next to a large quantity of explosives, and security sources believed that jihadist elements active in Sinai had been transporting it from Gaza, but had discarded it fearing that security officers present in the area would apprehend them, al- Sharq al-Awsat reported.

According to the same report, the source added that Egyptian police, civil defense and explosives experts had cordoned off the area where the explosive belt was found.

Security officers are still combing the area for additional explosives.

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