Apr 9 2009
Iran behind Hezbollah bid to strike Egypt targets
Iran was behind the planning of terror attacks against targets in Egypt by Hezbollah operatives, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahramquoted a senior official in Cairo as saying Thursday.
Two employees of an Iranian satellite TV channel planned the attacks, the paper said, which were meant to be carried out simultaneously at a number of locations across the country. According to Al-Ahram, the code-name for the attacks was mentioned in the last speech delivered by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
The report came after Egypt’s attorney general announced Wednesday that 49 agents of the Lebanese militant group had been arrested on suspicion of carrying out hostile operations. The government statement said that the men were looking to destabilize Egypt’s general security.
The pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, meanwhile, reported Thursday that Egypt also suspects three of the men it arrested of attempting to smuggle arms from Sudan to Hamas in Gaza via its territory. Foreign news outlets reported last month that the Israel Air Force carried out an air strike in Sudan on a convoy of Iranian arms en route to the Gaza Strip. The paper named one of the three detainees as Lebanese national Sami Shihab, whom it said was responsible for enlisting dozens of Egyptians in espionage activities for Hezbollah. Al-Hayat said the other two were Palestinians who lived in Lebanon.
‘Hezbollah told agents to gather intel on Sinai tourist sites’
According to the Egyptian government statement released Wednesday, the men had been assigned by Hezbollah to observe and collect intelligence from the villages along the Egypt-Gaza border, tourist sites in the Sinai, and the Suez Canal. They had also been provided explosives and training on how to use them.
Tensions have been high between Egypt and Hezbollah since the militant group criticized Egypt for not doing more to stop Israel’s offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip