CAIRO: Eight members of a new “terrorist cell,” allegedly in contact with the Islamic State group (IS), have been arrested by Homeland Security in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqi, Youm7 reported Tuesday.
The cell is the second to have been “proven to be in touch with IS,” according to Youm7.
The leader of the cell was arrested as he was attempting to travel from Egypt to Syria via Turkey while another member was arrested in an airport in Alexandria.
Both of them were in possession of large sums of money in “foreign funds to carry out terrorist acts across Egypt,” security investigations said.
The eight defendants were referred to the same prosecutor investigating the first cell headed by Khaled el-Maghawry, a 37-year-old owner of a Sharqia contracting company.
Local media reported Maghawry’s investigations, which claim that he recruited youth, trained them on using weapons and then helped them travel to Syria to join IS for further training. The cell eventually aimed that the dispatched elements return to Egypt to “execute terrorist operations.”
Five other men aged between 23 and 44 were arrested for affiliation with Maghawry’s cell. They were caught with books that promote jihadism, a term that has been used to refer to fighting for the cause of God, and takfirism, an approach that allows Muslims to accuse other Muslim of apostasy, hence treat them as “enemies.”
“Some cells, which were planning to start a Daesh (Arabic for the acronym the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) branch in Egypt, have been arrested. I believe this has been aborted. Some people have traveled for jihad in Syria, we are tracing their return,” Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim said at a press conference Sept. 14.
“You can say that there are no IS elements on the ground in Egypt,” Ibrahim added.
Reuters previously reported that Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis receive online guidance from IS.