Egypt stopped Jihad group's plot against Israel

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

CAIRO 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 Egypt.

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.

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