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Egypt says suspect in Cairo attack fought in Syria and Libya

Egypt's Interior Ministry today announced the arrest of an individual suspected of being involved in one of the bombings in Cairo on Jan. 24. Mohammed Durri Ahmad al Taliawi, 35, was arrested today in Monufia, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Four separate bombings, including a car bombing outside the Cairo Security Directorate, were reported on Jan. 24. Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) originally claimed responsibility for all of the bombings before later backtracking on some of the smaller attacks that had been claimed by a separate group called Ajnad Misr.

According to the Interior Ministry, al Taliawi was involved in the bombing attack that killed one person outside a movie theater on Jan. 24. In a video released by the Interior Ministry, al Taliawi said that he had traveled to Libya and Syria previously. In Libya and Syria, al Taliawi "took part in terrorist acts," the Interior Ministry claimed.

The Interior Ministry further stated that al Taliawi was wanted in connection with two other cases, including one related to Mohammed al Zawahiri, the brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri.

In the video, al Taliawi said that he returned to Egypt around March 2013. Upon returning, he headed to the Sinai to see if he could get involved with groups carrying out attacks against "the Jews." What exactly resulted from these efforts is unclear.

According to al Taliawi, the crackdown by Egyptian security forces against the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, specifically at the Rabaa al Adawiya mosque, pushed him to believing that conducting jihad within Egypt was legitimate.

Al Taliawi further stated that the attack he was involved in was aimed at security personnel and was not intended to hurt any civilians. In its claim of responsibility for the attack, Ansar Jerusalem said it was "targeting the criminal apostate Garir Mustafa while he was on his way with a security force to suppress a demonstration."

If al Taliawi is a member of Ansar Jerusalem and did indeed fight in Syria, he would be the third member of the group to have done so. Ansar Jerusalem's Walid Badr and Saaed al Shahat fought in Syria before returning to Egypt, where they died.

In early February, Egyptian and US officials expressed concern that Egyptian jihadists abroad were returning to their home country to partake in the nascent insurgency.

[Source: By David Barnett, Threat Matrix, Long War Journal, NJ, 10Mar14]

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