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Terrorist roundup
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 13 - 05 - 2014

“Security forces have uncovered 40 terrorist cells since April,” Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told a press conference on Monday. “The authorities are at a decisive stage in curbing terrorism.”
On Saturday Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat referred 200 alleged members of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis to trial. The 102 defendants in custody — 98 are on the run — face a string of charges including founding, leading and joining a terrorist organisation, “spying for a foreign organisation, Hamas, the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood”, murder, attempted murder and vandalising state facilities. No trial date has been set.
During the press conference Ibrahim aired recorded confessions of five defendants who have planned and executed dozens of attacks. Some plots were foiled, Ibrahim said, but others were carried out, resulting in the deaths of five senior police officers.
In one of the confession videos Abdullah Hussein, 24, says he fought in Syria with Ahrar Al-Sham, a leading Islamist faction. He was trained in using weapons and explosives before he returned to Egypt three months ago. Once back he recruited other jihadists and together they plotted attacks on police and military targets.
Abdullah Ammar, one of the recruits, says Hussein convinced him that the priority was jihad in Egypt and not Syria. “Hussein received money from Wagdi Ghoneim [a Brotherhood supporter currently in Qatar],” claimed Ammar.
Sayed Al-Shami, alleged member of a second cell, told investigators he had been at the Al-Nahda pro-Morsi sit-in where he met “some brothers” with whom he kept in touch after the dispersal of the sit-in. “We subsequently formed a jihadist cell which was divided into three divisions, a manufacturing, execution and a monitoring group,” said Al-Shami.
According to Ibrahim evidence directly linking the Muslim Brotherhood to terrorism emerged in the confessions, with several detainees admitting they received funds from members of the group to attack police and the military personnel. The Brotherhood denies involvement in the wave of attacks on security forces which escalated following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, claiming government accusations are an attempt to justify the drive to crush the group.
Al-Shami claimed to have received support from a Muslim Brotherhood member named Mohamed Al-Sabawi. Al-Sabawi, said Ibrahim, has now been arrested.

Investigators have linked Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis with former president Mohamed Morsi. “Investigations have led to astonishing results: ousted president Mohamed Morsi was in contact with leaders of the terrorist organisation Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. They agreed that the group would refrain from hostile operations throughout his tenure,” said a statement issued by the general prosecution.
Prosecutors also say investigations reveal links with Hamas which supplied the groups with “money, weapons and explosive materials”.
Three members of Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt), a militant group that emerged following Morsi's ouster, were arrested last the weekend in Imbaba district.
Mohamed Tawfik, 29, Gamal Zaki, 28, and Saad Abdel-Raouf, 30, confessed that they belong to the Jihadist group following their arrest.
Ajnad Misr recently released a video couple claiming responsibility for eight attacks between November 2013 and April 2014. In January the group claimed it was targeting “police officers involved in massacres” — a reference to the security crackdown on pro-Brotherhood sit-ins that followed the overthrow of Morsi. It claimed responsibility for the murder in April of senior anti-riot police officer Brigadier Ahmed Zaki, and for planting the three explosive devices in front of Cairo University in the same month which killed Brigadier Tarek Al-Mergawi and severely wounded five others, including a major-general.
“We tracked a mobile number connected to previous explosions,” said a police officer involved in the arrest of the three. “We then set fixed and moving ambushes in Imbaba to catch the perpetrators. Two were apprehended in a car. They led us to their apartment where we found another member together with explosives and weapons.”
Ajnad Misr, says Islamic movement expert Maher Farghali, comprises extremist jihadists as well as members of Hazemoun, supporters of former presidential hopeful Hazem Salah Abu Ismail. “Ajnad Misr's capability is restricted to rudimentary operations which has limited its impact. It has members in Cairo and Giza governorates, Farghali said.
Militant violence first flared in the restive Sinai Peninsula but has since spread to the capital Cairo and cities of the Nile Delta. Two groups have claimed responsibility for most attacks — the Al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, and Ajnad Misr.


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