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Police arrest members of Cairo 'terrorist' cell

Group reportedly has links with Sinai-based militants Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis

Ahram Online , Thursday 22 Jan 2015
Views: 1621
Views: 1621

Police have arrested members of a "terrorist cell" in Cairo that has links to Sinai-based militants Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, the interior ministry announced on Thursday.

The ministry said the group, made up of five people, admitted to committing "terrorist crimes" using "explosive devices" against police in Cairo.

According to the ministry, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis helped "one of them to travel to Syria for military training." The report also said the men joined jihadist group Ajnad Misr and received training on "making explosives."

Police said they arrested the men and seized two machine guns, a birdshot gun, and a pistol.

The men allegedly admitted to involvement in anti-police attacks at Cairo and Helwan universities, the Medicine Faculty of Qasr Al-Aini University and the High Court.   

They also reportedly confessed about other members of their group involved in attacks, including "an attack in [downtown] Boulaq Abou El-Ela" and "an incident with two explosives in Masr El-Gedida."

Attacks on police and army sites have been recurrent in Egypt over the past year and a half. They have claimed the lives of hundreds of security forces, mainly in the restive Sinai Peninsula, but attacks have also expanded to Cairo and the Nile Delta. Civilians too have been caught in the violence.

Most recently, four conscripts and a police officer were injured on 10 January when unknown assailants shot at a police patrol on the ring road in Cairo. Two days earlier, a policeman was shot dead in central Egypt's Fayoum.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis and Ajnad Misr have claimed responsibility for some of these attacks.

Last week, prosecutors referred 13 men to court on charges of killing two policemen and of belonging to Ansar Beit El-Maqdis.  

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