Plot to assassinate Egypt President Sisi uncovered: MENA

Ahram Online , Sunday 20 Nov 2016

File Photo: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a speech at the House of Representatives of the Diet in Tokyo on February 29, 2016. The president is on a four-day visit to Japan. (AFP)

Egypt's state security prosecution referred on Sunday 292 alleged members of the Islamic State militant group to a military court on charges of plotting to assassinate President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and launch terrorist attacks in the country, state news agency MENA said. 

Judiciary sources told local media that the military prosecution will release detailed confessions from a number of the suspects.

According to year-long investigations carried out by the state security prosecution, the suspects plotted two assassination attempts against President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, with the first in 2014 as he performed a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, MENA said. 

The alleged attempt, which also targeted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, involved members from terrorist cells in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The prosecution did not specify how the plot was foiled. 

The second attempt was allegedly orchestrated by a terrorist cell consisting of seven members – six former police officers and a dentist – who planned to attack the president's convoy using explosive charges as it travelled in Cairo. 

The suspects were also responsible for carrying out a number of high-profile attacks in North and South Sinai, including the bombing of a tourist bus in the resort town of Taba in February 2014 that killed two South Koreans and an Egyptian driver. 

'Bearded police officers group' 

The assassination attempt on Sisi was part of a larger plan to overthrow the current regime that would also involve the assassination of former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim over the 2013 dispersal of Cairo sit-ins supporting ousted president Mohamed Morsi, according to the prosecution. 

Authorities say the six former police officers involved in the plots were members of the "bearded police officers" group formed in 2012, whose members said they would grow their beards in accordance with their interpretation of Islamic doctrine. 

At the time, the interior ministry blocked this move, saying it violated police and military codes. The group members were then sent to the ministry's reserve forces. 

Authorities say these former security officials planned to use their expertise to target the president’s convoy as it moved through Cairo.   

Investigators say all the members of the terrorist cells advocated the Jihadist ideology and believe that state officials and members of the army, police and the judiciary are “infidels.”

In October, the prosecutor-general ordered the state security prosecution to open an investigation into terrorist groups' plans to execute wide scale terrorist operations in Greater Cairo.

Earlier this month, Egyptian authorities detained five people who they say are leaders of the little-known terrorist groups Hasm and Liwaa Al-Thawra.

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