There have been over 700 arrests since April as part of the Interior Ministry’s crack down on 40 “terrorist cells” in its ongoing efforts to combat violence, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced in a press conference on Monday.
225 people allegedly involved in attacks on police stations and public and private facilities have been arrested, along with 51 others accused of burning police cars, 17 responsible for online pages that reportedly support violence against the police and Armed Forces and 498 rioters accused of inciting violence, according to Ibrahim.
Boasting of the ministry’s efforts to combat terrorism, Ibrahim said the police force has been under a lot of pressure over the past few weeks.
He maintained the ministry has been effective in its campaign against extremist elements in various governorates, predominantly those affiliated with the Sinai-based group Ansar Beit al-Maqdes, such as Ajnad Misr, and other “secret cells” linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ibrahim suggested such cells are mostly comprised of young members, who he said participated in the Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins last August and underwent “military training” during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The interior minister went on to recount the martyrs he said are victims of violent attacks by extremist groups.
He also showed video footage of alleged confessions by members of such groups during the conference, and claimed that some of them had confessed to participating in the Nahda sit-in and receiving funding from Qatar.
The minister highlighted Islamic Preacher Wagdy Ghoneim, who he said had funded plots by members of the cells and offered them advice.
He praised security forces for their “pre-emptive measures,” which he said had thwarted plots by two cells against the police and Armed Forces, adding that such operations are ongoing.