Report: Egypt thwarts terror attacks

3 men arrested; plotted to bomb Sharm e-Sheikh tourist resorts.

Aqaba Rocket 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Aqaba Rocket 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Egyptian security authorities have thwarted a plot to carry out terror attacks against tourist resorts in Sharm e-Sheikh, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday.
The report said that three men carrying explosives and tools used for manufacturing bombs were arrested by Egyptian security forces five days before last week’s rocket attacks on Eilat and the Jordanian Red Sea port city of Aqaba.
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Egyptian security sources refused to comment on the report.
However, the paper quoted Beduin living in Sinai as claiming that they had been the ones who stopped the three suspects before handing them over to law-enforcement authorities.
It’s not clear why the Egyptians chose not to publicize the arrests of the three, who were apparently on their way to attack tourist resorts in Sharm e-Sheikh.
The Egyptian authorities are now trying to find out whether the three, who have not been identified, are connected to the rocket attacks on Eilat and Aqaba, the paper said.
The report quoted Beduin who were allegedly involved in the capture of the three as saying that one of the men apprehended was probably a Palestinian.
The paper quoted an Egyptian security source as saying that a number of terror suspects had been arrested in Sinai, but that those arrested were not being tied to the rocket attacks.
The Egyptian source said Cairo still had doubts whether the rockets were indeed fired from Sinai toward Eilat and Aqaba. Last week, Egyptian authorities initially denied that the rockets had been fired from Sinai.
Later, however, they backed down and claimed that Palestinian groups that had infiltrated the border with the Gaza Strip were behind the attacks.
Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip continue to deny any involvement in the rocket attacks last week, which killed a Jordanian citizen and wounded several others.
Egyptian security forces, meanwhile, have launched a massive investigation to determine whether terrorists had used Sinai as a launching pad for firing the rockets.
The Egyptians believe that fundamentalist Muslims belonging to an armed group were behind the attacks. One theory is that the terrorists were part of an al-Qaida-inspired cell that consists of fundamentalists from the Gaza Strip and Sinai.
In a separate development, the Islamic Jihad organization in the Gaza Strip denied on Sunday that it had agreed to stop firing rockets at Israel.
Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for the group, said that “rockets were a tactical means that we resort to when needed.”
He said that reports to the effect that his organization had agreed to halt the rocket attacks were untrue.