CAIRO Ñ Egypt was said to have foiled an offensive by a leading
Islamic insurgency group against neighboring Israel.
Egyptian security sources said authorities have captured 43 insurgents
from the outlawed Jihad group. They said the suspects would be accused in
participating in a plot to infiltrate the Gaza Strip in an attempt to strike
targets in Israel.
The defendants, who included explosives experts and engineering
graduates from universities, were also accused of targeting the Israeli and
U.S. ambassadors to Egypt. In the end, the Jihad members were captured in
early 2003 before the plot was carried out, Middle East Newsline reported.
The sources said the Jihad suspects come from five governorates in
Egypt. They said the Jihad members originally planned to infiltrate Israel
and the Gaza Strip from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. When the attempt was foiled
by Egyptian border forces, the Jihad members returned to Cairo to plan
attacks against Israeli and U.S. targets inside Egypt.
The head of the Jihad network was identified as Ihab Ismail Sabri. The
sources said Sabri received orders from Jihad leaders abroad via the
Internet. Jihad has been split since the early 1990s and the active part of
the insurgency group has been led by Ayman Zawahiri, chief aide to Al
Qaida's Osama Bin Laden.
Sabri's assistant was identified as Mohammed Ahmed Daraj. Daraj, the
sources said, was responsible for communications with the Jihad network in
The Jihad network was said to have obtained weapons, produced bombs and
acquired training for a series of attacks. The sources said Egyptian
security forces seized a large amount of TNT from a Jihad stronghold.