The Interior Ministry announced on Sunday afternoon the arrest of takfiris (Islamist insurgents) in the Suez governorate who have ties to militant groups in North Sinai. According to a statement issued by the ministry, the cell had been planning attacks against state institutions.
The statement noted that 10 members of the aforementioned cell were arrested. Two of those arrested were leading figures in the group, named Adel Hussein and Abdel Rahman Al-Hadi.
“During the arrest of these two leading figures, a pistol was found that had been previously reported as stolen from Suez Security Directorate in 2011,” the statement read. “Confessions obtained from some of the arrested members indicated an affiliation to takfiri ideologies.”
The cell was reportedly looking to execute a number of attacks against judicial and security institutions, and were monitoring the movement of several police officers in preparation for an attack.
The statement added that the state had managed to extract a confession from Al-Hadi which confirmed his affiliation to terrorist groups in North Sinai and that he had previously trained under these groups. Following his return from training, he was given the task of manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Suez governorate as a prelude to attacks that were to be carried out by his group.
The ministry was not available for comment on the story.
Since 2013, state security forces represented in both the army and police have been engaged in violent clashes with “Sinai Province”, known previously as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. In 2014, the group declared its affiliation to the Islamic State and has launched deadly attacks on army and police checkpoints.
Over the course of the last two years, the Egyptian Armed Forces have launched counterattacks against suspected militant staging points and strongholds across the Sinai Peninsula, particularly in Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish in North Sinai.