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Hezbollah Planned Three Synchronized Attacks in Egypt | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Sources close to the investigations into the Hezbollah cell in Egypt, which includes 49 suspects including Egyptian, Lebanese, and Sudanese nationals, revealed that the cell planned to carry out three major bombing operations in tourist areas of Egypt.

Egypt stated Thursday that it told ambassadors of Arab countries about the investigations taking place with regards to the Hezbollah in Egypt case. Informed legal sources said that this case will be referred to the tribunal next week and that the 24 suspects at large include three Sudanese working for Hezbollah intelligence to transfer weapons from the Sudan-Egypt borders to the Sinai region, where Egypt borders Israel.

Ahmed Ragheb, the lawyer representing a number of suspects involved in the case, stated that it is most likely that the case will be transferred within the next few days to the concerned tribunal.

Meanwhile, sources close to the investigations said that on Wednesday night Supreme State Security continued interrogating a number of suspects on the role played by Hezbollah intelligence figure Mohammed Qablan, who is at large, in the case of the Hezbollah cell that was discovered in Egypt in order to know when he visited Cairo and Giza and other areas in the Suez Canal and Sinai regions.

The investigations with the accused suspects revealed that Qablan, along with some of his Hezbollah aides that came with him to Egypt on a number of occasions using code names, was planning to carry out three major attacks using explosive belts and car bombs in the tourist area of Taba, close to the Israeli-Egyptian borders, which is frequently visited by large numbers of Israeli tourists.

Sources added that the price of one of the vehicles that Hezbollah wanted to use in an operation to be carried out in tourist hotspots in the Red Sea area was paid during a meeting attended by Qablan, Mohammed Yousuf Mansour (also known as Sami Shehab) who has been detained in Egypt, and a number of Egyptian suspects, who are 1948 Arabs, living in Sinai. The vehicle was a small second-hand van, the kind usually used by local citizens in areas of the Red Sea and Sinai.

However, security sources denied that the van was among the items that were seized along with the suspects. The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The issue of the van is being investigated and we know who paid for it but we do not know whether this vehicle is in the possession of State Security or if they are still looking for it, especially as there are other suspected members of the cell at large, some of which are hiding in the rugged mountains of Sinai.”

The sources close to the investigations said that following interviews carried out by Supreme State Security apparatus with a number of suspects – and after the Egyptian suspects (of Palestinian origin) admitted that there was another person of Lebanese origin [involved in the case] apart from Mohammed Mansour Yousuf (Chehab) – the suspects were interrogated once again in order to find out the identity of this Lebanese figure. The suspects said that he was the head of the Hezbollah cell in Egypt. It became clear that the figure was Mohammed Qablan, a senior Hezbollah activist close to the party’s intelligence division.

Sources added that Nasser Abu Umra, the accused Egyptian national of Palestinian origin, stated during an interrogation session on Wednesday night that he met a Lebanese person who was part of the Hezbollah cell and was planning to carry out bombings in Taba and that when Mohammed Yousuf Mansour (Chehab) was brought to Abu Umra, Abu Umra stated that it was not him even though Chehab knew him and admitted to meeting him a number of times in Al-Arish. The sources added that investigators showed a number of suspects a recent picture of Qablan, and that Abu Umra and other suspects in the case knew who he was. Abu Umra also said that he had met Qablan more than once in various parts of Egypt including Cairo and Giza.

The Supreme State Security continued its investigations on Wednesday night under the supervision of Hisham Badawi, the first Attorney General of the Supreme State Security, and launched an investigation into Nissar Jibreel who said in his statements that he is a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in Al-Arish.

Jibreel admitted that he met Nasser Abu Umra at the beginning of 2005 and said that Nasser asked him to gradually distance himself from the Muslim Brotherhood so that he could join another group that aims to help the Palestinian nation, i.e. Hezbollah. He added that Abu Umra introduced him to Mohammed Youssef Mansour (Chehab). On Wednesday night, he added that Mohammed Youssef Mansour introduced himself as a Palestinian, and admitted that he was a member of Hezbollah, and said that he had taken part in a number of meetings with leading members of the party who were working towards setting up a cell inside Egypt.

The sources added that the accused members of the organization are facing a number of charges including spying for a foreign party (Hezbollah) intending to carry out terror attacks in Egypt, joining an unlawful group that uses terrorism as a means to achieve its goals, being in possession of explosives and forging official documents (passports).

Ahmed Ragheb, a lawyer from the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, who has been following the investigations with the suspects, expects that the case will be transferred next week. He said, “At present, investigations are being carried out…we are awaiting the decision to transfer the case to the tribunal and at the beginning of next week, the fate of these suspects will be clearer.”

Sources from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it had given Arab states all the information available on the case of the Hezbollah cell in Egypt. This took place during an open meeting held by Minister Abdel Rahman Salahaddin, Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab Affairs, with a number of Arab ambassadors based in Cairo.