Egypt's State Security apparatus on Wednesday began questioning suspects accused of planning terrorist attacks in Egypt.
Adel Shahtu, a leading member of the Al-Gamaa Al-Jihadiyah group, has been charged by authorities with founding a 'terrorist cell' in Cairo's Nasr City district.
The alleged Nasr City cell stands accused of planning terrorist attacks in areas throughout the country.
According to investigators, Shahtu is one of Egypt's most prominent jihadists. He spent 20 years in prison under the ousted Mubarak regime and was only released by Egypt's military council – which governed the country for the year and a half following Mubarak's ouster – in April of last year.
Eight other alleged members of the Nasr City cell are also reportedly being questioned by State Security. They are accused of possessing weapons, planning the assassination of public figures, and seeking to topple Egypt's elected government, according to investigators.
State Security investigators also say the defendants had received military training in the capital's New Cairo district, and that they had been aided by a bomb-making expert.
On 25 October, one of the eight defendants – a Tunisian national named Hazem – was allegedly killed in his apartment in Nasr City as he attempted to evade security forces.
Hazem allegedly attempted to hurl a bomb at police, which ended up detonating in his apartment, resulting in his death.
In an interview with private television channel Al-Nahar, Islamist lawyer Montasser El-Zayat described news of the alleged 'Nasr City cell' as "fabricated" and an "attempt to re-assert the power of Egypt's State Security apparatus."