Islamic State militants parade in Mosul.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Egypt has arrested an Islamic State cell that planned to assassinate government ministers, media personalities and businessmen in the coming days, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported on Monday.
The paper quoted Egyptian security officials as saying that nine suspects had been arrested while trying to infiltrate into Egypt from Libya.
The suspects from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt were supposed to have gotten weapons smuggled to them through Red Sea smuggling routes, the sources added.
Fake documentation for members of the cell was supposed to have come from Gaza, according to the report.
Islamist militants have posed a danger to Egypt in the Sinai peninsula for the most part, although there have been attacks against police in Cairo as well.
Gunmen kidnapped an Egyptian police officer on Sunday in the Sinai Peninsula, home to Islamist militants seeking to topple the country's government, security sources and the state news agency said.
The policeman was traveling in a bus from the north Sinai city of Rafah to El-Arish when the gunmen stopped the vehicle and took him away.
"This seems like a terrorist operation, not a criminal one, but we are not sure if it is Ansar yet," a security official told Reuters.
Ansar is Egypt's most lethal militant group, which used to be called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis before recently changing its name to Sinai Province.
It has sworn allegiance to Islamic State, the hardline Sunni militant group that has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria and threatens to redraw the map of the Middle East. Reuters contributed to this report.