Top al-Qaeda official arrested in Cairo, maybe

Police in Egypt arrested a man who may or may not be a leading al-Qaeda operative, depending on who you ask. From the Washington Post:

The person arrested was Egyptian-born Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi, who authorities identified as the senior al-Qaeda leader known as Saif al-Adel (the “sword of justice” in Arabic). Makkawi was arrested at Cairo International Airport, where he was traveling on an Emirates Airline flight from Pakistan via Dubai, airport officials said.

Makkawi, however, says he cut ties with al-Qaeda decades ago, according to Reuters:

He said he had been wrongly identified as Saif al-Adel because his name had been used as an alias, but said he had severed any links to the group in 1989, shortly after the organization was set up and several years before it declared its drive against the West and those it deemed foes of Islam.

“I did not carry out any operation against any installation or individual,” said Makkawi, a former army officer in Egypt’s special forces.

The actual Saif al-Adel is thought to be one of al Qaeda’s top officials and is wanted in connection with embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya.




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