|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
5 - 11 November 1998
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Military trial for bombing suspects
Military prosecutors are questioning more than 50 suspects, including more than a dozen extradited by other countries in connection with the 1995 suicide bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, which killed 16 people.
The suspects, described as members of the underground Jihad group, will be put on a military trial, security sources said. Sentences handed down by military courts cannot be appealed but require the endorsement of President Hosni Mubarak.
The sources said that over the past few months, a number of suspected militants have been extradited to Egypt from such countries as South Africa, Albania, Bulgaria and Saudi Arabia.
According to the same sources, the suspects have close connections with Jihad leader Ayman El-Zawahri, who is believed to live in Afghanistan. But it was not immediately known whether they also have links with Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden, accused by Washington of masterminding the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August, which killed at least 263 people.
However, the sources said, those being questioned include Sayed Salama, a suspected aide of Bin Laden, who was extradited to Egypt by Saudi Arabia in June.
Ahmed Ibrahim El-Naggar, who was sentenced to death in absentia for his role in a plot to blow up Cairo's Khan Al-Khalili bazaar in 1995, is also being questioned. He has been living in Albania, where he was in charge of the Centre of Islamic Heritage.
Security sources, speaking to Al-Ahram Weekly, claimed that El-Naggar had confessed to raising funds for Jihad and assigning specific activities to members of the group, in accordance with El-Zawahri's instructions. He is alleged to have confessed also to helping a number of Egyptian-Afghans enter Albania and other Balkan states to avoid the security restrictions imposed on them in Arab countries and Pakistan.
Other suspects are said to have made confessions regarding the activities of El-Zawahri and Bin Laden in Afghanistan and have, allegedly, told prosecutors that Bin Laden's aides, particularly Sayed Salama, looked after the Saudi millionaire's business activities in Sudan.
According to the sources, the suspects also described the activities of Adel Abdel-Meguid Abdel-Bari, a political refugee who lives in Britain and is closely connected to El-Zawahri. Abdel-Bari runs an organisation called the Office for Defending the Egyptian People in London, which has been described as a communication facility for Jihad. Abdel-Bari has also been sentenced to death in absentia in connection with the Khan Al-Khalili plot.
Prosecutors are also questioning Tarek Ali Mursi, a suspected Jihad member, who was deported by South Africa two weeks ago, and four people who were arrested in Albania in July. According to newspapers in the Albanian capital Tirana, the arrests were made with the help of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The sources said the inquiry is expected to end within the next few days and the indictment bill will be published next week.
Up to 1,200 people, mostly militants and police, have been killed since militant Islamist groups took up arms in 1992 in an attempt to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state.