Ministry of Interior (MOI) spokesman Hany Abdel Latif on Monday denied media reports that security forces had arrested 25 suspects in connection with the assassination attempt on Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim and the Al-Warraq church shooting.
State-owned Al-Ahram cited Al-Hayat TV channel as saying Sunday that 25 “jihadists” were arrested by Security forces, and that a press conference will be held soon to announce the arrests.
Abdel Latif denied these reports, saying no press conferences are being organised.
Ibrahim had survived an assassination attempt on the morning of 5 September after an explosion targeted his motorcade in the northeast Cairo district of Nasr City. The jihadist group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis revealed on Saturday the identity of the suicide bomber, a former army officer, whom it claimed had carried out the attempt on the Ibrahim’s life, alongside alleged footage of the explosion. Abdel Latif commented that this information was known to the MOI four days after the attempt. The group announced earlier this month its responsibility for the attack.
Meanwhile on 20 October, two unidentified gunmen opened fire on a wedding at the Al-Warraq Church of Virgin Mary, causing four fatalities and 17 injuries.
Abdel Latif announced that security forces succeeded in arresting eight “jihadists” in Al-Qantara City on Ismailia-Port Said road last Wednesday, as well as an undisclosed number of “jihadist elements” during the last 72 hours.
However, the spokesman pointed out that those arrested are currently in questioning and there is no proof at this time of their involvement in either the assassination attempt or the church shooting.
The spokesman added that the ministry is currently trailing other elements and more arrests are expected soon, also denying that Ibrahim made any statements linking the assassination attempt that targeted him and the church attack.
Abdel Latif associated recent arrests with the fire at a farm in Al-Sharqeya governorate on Friday, where a large number of weapons were discovered and confiscated including mortars, RPGs, machineguns and explosives. The ministry said in a statement that the farm was owned by jihadist elements.
The spokesman concluded that the ministry “is achieving huge successes in combating terrorism, but we need to make sure that the arrested are the real offenders. The leaders of terrorism abroad are carrying out a psychological war against our successes, but we will continue to fight terrorism.”