About 135 Muslim extremists who spent more than a decade in Egyptian prisons have been released after signing statements renouncing violence, police officials said Monday.
Egypt began releasing members of al-Jihad, which was formerly headed by al-Qaida's No. 2 Ayman Al-Zawahri, two weeks ago after some of their leaders agreed to renounce violence against the Egyptian state, officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, which in Arabic means Islamic Group, and to a lesser extent al-Jihad, which means holy war, were responsible for a violent campaign against the Egyptian regime in the 1990s. Neither has been involved in attacks in Egypt since.
Both groups were accused of participating in the 1981 assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat. Al-Zawahri was jailed for his involvement in the assassination but was released in 1984. After his release, he left Egypt and helped form al-Qaida with Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s.