General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered on Saturday the detention of Libyan national Abdel Rahim Masmary and another 14militants for 15 days pending investigation, for being involved in Al-Wahat shootout.
Masmary is affiliated with a terrorist group based in Derna, Libya, according to a statement released by Egypt’s Interior Ministry on Thursday.
The statement also said that Masmary was operating under the leadership of Egyptian terrorist Emad El Din Abdel Hamid, who was killed among the militants killed during army strikes a few days following the attack.
The defendants were caught during a campaign in the area of the shoot-out by security forces in late October.
The statement also mentioned that some of the defendants were involved in the terror attack carried out against Egyptian Coptic pilgrims in May that resulted in 30 deaths.
The statement said that the suspects belong to a terrorist group based in Libya, easily accessible through the Western Desert.
The State Security prosecution, in charge of carrying out investigations of the defendants over accusations of attempting to murder policemen on Al-Wahat road, possessing unlicenced firearms and explosives, as well as belonging to a terrorist organisation established in violation of the provisions of the law and the constitution, and targeting state security.
The shoot-out occurred in late October when state security received information about a hideout of militants 135 kilometres away from Cairo, and planned to raid the area. Sixteen police men were killed and thirteen others injured in violent clashes with the militant group.
The Western Desert was the scene of several previous attacks, including the incident in June 2016 when six military personnel, including two officers, were killed and three others injured in a militant attack in Al-Farafra Oasis, New Valley governorate. Moreover, Al-Farafra Oasis witnessed a major attack on one of its checkpoints in 2014, with 20 armed men assaulting the checkpoint in bomb-loaded vehicles, resulting in the killing of 22 Egyptian border guards.