Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
CAIRO, Nov 2 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's top prosecutor ordered on Sunday the detention of 35 suspects "affiliated with the Musilm Brotherhood and the Islamic State fighters in Syria" for 15 days pending investigation.
Hisham Barakat, the prosecutor general, is accusing the detained suspects of committing "terrorist" acts in Egypt. They are being investigated by the Damietta, Ismailia and Sharqiya prosecutions.
The suspects reportedly admitted to the prosecution pretending to work as businessmen in order to travel to Turkey then to Syria, where they were trained to use weapons. They then returned to Egypt waiting for instructions from Islamic State fighters, the prosecution said.
Egypt's interior ministry announced on Saturday tracking down a "terrorist cell complicit in several terrorist operations in Egypt," said Interior Ministry Spokesman Hany Abdel Lattif, adding that the cell is affiliated to "terrorist groups" in Syria.
Abdel Lattif told Aswat Masriya on Saturday that the arrested members of the "terrorist cell" received training in conflict-torn Syria before returning to Egypt to commit various crimes. He added in a press statement that the cell members, arrested in Damietta, confessed they had travelled from Turkey to Syria, where they joined a "terrorist camp" and received "physical, intellectual and military training."
Security forces also arrested four more "terrorist cells" comprising of 34 members, the ministry said.
Egypt's security forces have intensified their measures in North Sinai in reaction to repeated militant attacks that target army and police officials, which rose significantly since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last year. The attacks soon expanded to other areas of the country, including the capital.
At least 30 military personnel were killed in a suicide blast which targeted a security checkpoint in Sinai's Sheikh Zuweid last week. The explosion also caused damage to two military vehicles.
Shortly afterwards, a separate attack by unidentified gunmen on a security checkpoint in Arish killed three more security personnel.
Reuters had recently interviewed a member of the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis who claimed that the group is in contact with and receives guidance from the Islamic State fighters in Iraq.
Egypt's Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shukri commented on a possible relation between Islamic State fighters and other militant groups in the region, especially in Egypt, stressing that such relation is being "monitored" during a press conference on September 13. He added that global action is needed to combat such militant groups.
Islamic State fighters have controlled large areas of Iraq and Syria recently. They have carried out a number of mass executions and recently beheaded two American journalists and two British nationals.