Egypt Announces Capture of Islamists Suspected of Deadly August Attack on Israel's Border

After capture of the alleged mastermind of the attack near Eilat was announced Sunday, two more members of the cell were announced captured Monday.

Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff
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Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff

Egyptian security forces announced that they arrested another two members of a radical Islamic group associated with al-Qaida that has been active recently throughout the Sinai peninsula.

According to the Egyptian report, the two Islamists were arrested at 2 A.M. on Monday near El-Arish and were transferred to Cairo for investigation. The names of the Islamists are listed as Abed Al-Karim, 42 years old, and Ahmed Awad, no age listed.

The commander of the Islamic group, Muhammed Eid Musleh Hamad, was arrested on Sunday and charged with involvement in the planning of the attack on Israel near the Egyptian border close to Eilat. The Palestinian Maan news agency reported that Hamad, also known as Muhammad al-Teeh, was arrested at a tourist spot in the Sinai.

Al-Teeh reportedly surrendered himself without resistance. The Egyptian news agency MENA is also quoted as saying that authorities suspected the militant leader of masterminding attacks on police stations in the city, topping a government "wanted" list.

On August 18, eight Israelis were killed on a desert border road by gunmen who Israel has said infiltrated from the Gaza Strip via Egypt's neighboring Sinai desert.

Seven of the attackers were killed by Israeli forces and Egypt said five of its men died in the crossfire. The incident triggered the most serious diplomatic row with Egypt since a popular revolt overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak in February.

The diplomatic row between Israel and Egypt which began with the August attack Al-Teeh is suspected of masterminding seemed to have eased late last month, with the completion of the Egypt-mediated prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas over the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

As soon as news of the newly signed deal got out, Israel also issued an official apology over the death of the Egyptian policemen in August, thus accepting the results of a joint probe set up by the two countries to investigate the incident.

An Egyptian soldier stands guard on a watch tower on the border between Israel and Egypt, some 30 km (19 miles) north of Eilat. Credit: Reuters

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