Egypt State Security Prosecution orders 15 detained pending Wahat shootout investigations

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Sunday 19 Nov 2017

The detainees are accused of forming a terrorist cell with intent to attack state institutions, or knowing about the plot without informing authorities

A picture taken on October 21, 2017 shows ambulances parked in the desert towards the Bahariya oasis in Egypt's Western desert, about 135 kilometres (83 miles) southwest of Giza, AFP

Egypt's State Security Prosecution ordered Sunday nine defendants detained for 15 days, and six others for four days pending investigations on charges of being members of the terrorist group involved in the Wahat shootout.  

Eleven police officers, four conscripts and one sergeant were killed in the 20 October shootout while raiding a terrorist training camp in Bahariya Oasis, about 135 kilometres (83 miles) southwest of Cairo. The Ministry of Interior said that 15 terrorists were killed during the shootout.

The nine defendants are accused of joining an "unlawful group that aims at disrupting the constitution, law and state institutions, attacking the personal freedoms of citizens, harming national unity and the social fabric, adopting ideas that consider the state leader an atheist and legitimise changing the regime by force."

The defendants are also accused of attacking police and army members and institutions, aiming at disrupting public order, and using terrorism as one of their means, the prosecution saidز

The prosecution accused the six other defendants of knowing about the terrorist group, its members, and its aims of taking aggressive actions against the state, without reporting this information to the police.

On Thursday, security forces arrested Mohamed Abdullah Mosmary, a Libyan national who was involved in the Wahat shootout in October.

The ministry said that Mosmary, a resident of Libya's Derna and born in 1992, is the member of a cell formed in Derna by leading terrorist figure Emad El-Din Mahmoud Abdel-Hamid, who was killed in an airstrike by Egyptian forces on terrorist hideouts in the Western Desert.

The members of the cell received training in Libya before sneaking into Egypt to join a training camp in El-Wahat, as well as recruiting 29 new members from Giza and Qalioubiya.

Investigations also revealed that members of the cell were involved in the May attack on buses carrying Coptic Christians in Upper Egypt's Minya governorate, which killed 28 people. 

Following the shootout, Egyptian military and police forces launched a number of joint operations targeting terrorist hideouts in the Western Desert area, killing a number of terrorists involved in the shootout.

A little known group affiliated with Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Wahat incident in a statement online, stating that its leader, Abdel-Hamid, was killed by Egyptian air forces.

The terrorist group Daesh had earlier claimed responsibility for the Minya attack in May.

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