Egyptian police have arrested an American, 11 Europeans and several others from Arab countries for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks in Middle Eastern countries including Iraq, the Interior Ministry said on Monday. The group was part of an Islamic terror cell that had adopted extremist ideas and were living in Egypt under the disguise of studying Arabic and Islamic studies, the ministry said in a written statement. Along with the American, police arrested two Belgians, nine French and several others from Egypt and other Arab countries including Tunisia and Syria, the statement said. The ministry did provide names or say how many Egyptians and Arabs were arrested. "Investigations have confirmed that those elements are related to some terrorist organizations abroad," the ministry said. "They were seeking to recruit others, teach them destructive beliefs, urging them for jihad, traveling to Iraq to carry out operations via other countries in the region." They were arrested about a week ago, police officials said, speaking on condition on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. It was not immediately clear if all the arrests took place in Cairo or elsewhere in Egypt. All of the arrested were in jail pending further investigation, the ministry said.