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Qatar Dispute Forces Egypt to Raise Security Alert | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Egyptian policeman stands guard on Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2017. (AFP)

Cairo – A number of countries in the region could be faced with a new terrorist wave after they severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, warned media aide to the Egyptian Interior Minister warned Tariq Atiya.

“The security agencies have raised their alert level throughout the country in anticipation of any revenge terrorist attacks,” he revealed.

Several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut ties with Qatar after accusing it of supporting terrorist groups. They also blacklisted dozens of individuals with ties with Qatar, including prominent Egyptian cleric Youssef al-Qardawi, who resides in Doha.

Atiya explained that heightened security alert was taken after Interior Minister Majdi Abdul Ghaffar held a meeting with his security aides and heads of security agencies to prepare a plan to confront the expected threats.

Egypt has since the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 witnessed terrorist attacks by armed groups that are linked to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi is a member of the movement.

The terrorists had in recent months targeted churches and Christian gatherings, leaving scores of casualties. The attacks were claimed by ISIS that is active in northern Sinai.

A state of emergency was declared in April in wake of twin ISIS bombings against Coptic churches.

In 2013, Qatar openly backed the Muslim Brotherhood after Morsi was overthrown. It also refused to deem it a terrorist group and opposed handing over dozens of its members who are wanted by Egyptian authorities.