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Al Nusrah Front fighter reportedly arrested for planning attacks in Egypt

Egyptian state-run media today announced that authorities have arrested an Egyptian citizen who had returned from fighting with al Qaeda's Al Nusrah Front in Syria.

    Egypt has arrested a veteran of the Syrian civil war on suspicion of planning terrorist acts inside Egypt, the state news agency reported on Sunday.

    The Egyptian prosecutor's office in Suez City ordered the arrest of Wael Ahmed Abdel Fattah for 15 days, MENA reported, adding that he was suspected of working with Islamist militant groups.

    MENA said Abdel Fattah, a former oil company employee, battled in Syria alongside the Nusra Front, seen as the most effective rebel group fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

According to Egyptian media reports, Wael Ahmed Abdel Fattah had left about two years ago for Syria, which he entered through Turkish territory.

It is unclear whether the suspected jihadist is linked to Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis), the dominant jihadist group in Egypt today. Over the past six months, Ansar Jerusalem has confirmed that at least four of its fighters who have died in Egypt had fought in Syria prior to returning to Egypt.

And on March 10, Egypt's Interior Ministry announced the arrest of Mohammed Durri Ahmad al Taliawi, claiming that he was involved in the January bombing of the Cairo Security Directorate and that he had fought in Syria. Ansar Jerusalem has not confirmed that Taliawi was a member, however.

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, The Long War Journal, NJ, 13Apr14]

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