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Egypt foils al-Qaeda plot against embassy

Written By Joseph Y. Musa on Sunday, May 12, 2013 | 5/12/2013 09:55:00 am

EGYPT'S interior minister says police have arrested three members of an Al-Qaeda-linked cell in an alleged transnational plot to bomb a Western embassy and other targets in the country.
The suspects were arrested with explosives intended to be used to bomb a Western embassy after an investigation showed threads in Pakistan, Iran and Algeria, Mohamed Ibrahim said at a news conference.
Police "have delivered a successful blow against a terror cell plotting suicide bomb attacks," Ibrahim said.
The minister did not identify the embassy, which he said the militants "were on the verge" of attacking with either a car driven by a suicide bomber or remotely detonated explosives of ammonium nitrate.
Ibrahim said the suspects were captured with 10 kilos of the explosive chemical, and a computer containing instructions on bomb-making.
The militants had been in touch with an Al-Qaeda leader outside the country, identified as Kurdi Dawud al-Assadi who is "the head of Al-Qaeda in some west Asian countries," Ibrahim said.
One of the suspects was also associated with Al-Qaeda members in Algeria and received training from the loose-knit militant organisation in Pakistan and Iran, Ibrahim said.
"They were in electronic communication with Al-Qaeda in Pakistan," he said, adding that they were also in touch with an Al-Qaeda facilitator on the Turkish border.
He did not specify which of the eight countries that Turkey shares a border with, although these include Iran, Iraq and Syria.
According to Ibrahim, Assadi had instructed the suspects to coordinate with two alleged militants before their capture last October after a firefight that killed a gunman in a Cairo apartment.
The suspects arrested in October, also alleged to have Al-Qaeda links, are now on trial.
Egypt has in the past announced the arrest of Al-Qaeda-linked militants in the country which has seen a low-level Islamist insurgency and militant attacks on tourist sites over the past three decades.
Some of the veteran Egyptian Islamist militants are now in Al-Qaeda's leadership -- most prominently Ayman al-Zawahiri who heads the extremist organisation founded by Osama bin Laden.
Others have been jailed and recanted violence before being released following the 2011 uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak.

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