Police blame El-Shater's son-in-law for Cairo militant group

Ahram Online, Wednesday 27 Aug 2014

Son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood's number two, Khairat El-Shater, has been accused of masterminding south Cairo terrorist cell

Snapshot from a video of a group of armed and masked men vowing to target all police facilities in South Cairo

Egypt's police said on Wednesday that the mastermind of a new alleged militant group in south Cairo is the son-in-law of Khairat El-Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood's second-in-command.

In a police statement, interior ministry spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif said that the alleged militant group – called Kataeb Helwan, or the Helwan Brigades, after the south Cairo district – belongs to the "terrorist Brotherhood organisation" and was formed by Ayman Abdel-Ghani, El-Shater's son-in-law.

El-Shater, the Brotherhood's deputy supreme guide and a multimillionaire businessman, is currently in detention and facing trial on a variety of charges.

The interior ministry's statement, published on its official Facebook page, said Abdel-Ghani chose the Cairo districts of Helwan, Ain Shams and Matariya as bases to both plan and stage the attacks.

Abdel-Ghani is currently on the run, the statement said.

Police have identified the members of the alleged militant group and arrested eight of them, the statement said, adding that they used "terrorism to … spread chaos and terrorise citizens" and sway "foreign public opinion" towards believing there are "armed militias in Egypt."

The statement said those arrested have confessed to two attacks in which one policeman was injured and a public bus was torched.

Police confiscated a machine gun, ammunition and black clothes that members of the groups wore, the statement added.

The allegedly self-proclaimed militant group has previously appeared in a video published and circulated on social media networks in which they vowed to target all police facilities in south Cairo.

The video showed 12 masked men holding rifles, with some waving the four-fingered Rabaa sign, a symbol of the pro-Brotherhood protest camp in Cairo that was forcefully cleared by security forces last August and left hundreds dead.

The video was released on 14 August, the anniversary of the violent dispersal.

The police statement on Wednesday said the video had been filmed by a female journalist working for RASSD news network, known for its Brotherhood affiliation.

The statement also said that police have arrested suspects accused of attacking electricity pylons and other cells suspected of plotting explosives attacks.

A wave of militant attacks mostly targeting security forces has swept Egypt since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer. A radical Islamist militia known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis has claimed several large attacks, while another group called Ajnad Misr has claimed smaller ones.

Prior videos released by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis and Ajnad Misr describe the attacks as revenge for Egyptian authorities' violent crackdown against Morsi supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands in jail.

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