Cairo: Seventeen people were arrested in Egypt s Daqahliya governorate Wednesday on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks according to reports.
The Ministry of Interior did not announce anything regarding the arrests, but both Reuters and The Associated Press news agencies cited anonymous security forces confirming the arrests. They will be charged with belonging to a banned group and possession of illegal firearms.
This new group was allegedly found to be in possession of weapons and explosives that were intended for use in terrorist attacks in the country according to the security sources. The weapons were discovered in the house of one of the defendants in a village on the outskirts of the Delta city of Mansoura.
Additionally, the 17 members arrested were affiliated with the Jihad group, which was active in the past with attacks within Egypt in the late 70s and early 80s.
Islamic movements expert from Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Amr Al-Shobaki told Daily News Egypt that the Jihad organization had ended years ago but that it was possible their ideas still inspired small cells.
“In theory the group is finished but let s wait until the investigations are complete to see what they discover. In the past decade we have seen small cells affiliated to the Jihad ideology but not actually part of the organization, he said.
Al-Shobaki added, “Jihad as an organization ended in the late 90s after a long confrontation with the state and they lost this confrontation . they are an organization that calls for change through violence and armed resistance and were behind the assassination of former president Anwar Al Sadat.
Egypt has seen a return to terrorist attacks this year when a crude explosive went off in the tourist area of Al-Hussain last February, killing a French teenager who was here on a school holiday.
Additionally this year has seen the arrests of a number of people allegedly involved in plotting further attacks in the country, whether in the case of the Hezbollah cell which was uncovered here or the alleged Al-Zeitoun cell.