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Egypt Seeks Death Penalty for Hizbullah Terrorist

Egypt will seek the death penalty against the head of a Hizbullah terrorist cell that operated in the Sinai Peninsula, according to Arab media.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 4/19/2009, 11:00 AM

Israel News Photo: (Flash 90)

Egypt's state prosecutor will seek the death penalty against the head of a Hizbullah terrorist cell that had planned attacks against Israeli targets in the Sinai Peninsula.

Interrogators are wrapping up their investigation on Sami Shihab, who was captured while operating in the Sinai Peninsula, according to a report published on Sunday in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Hayat.

Charges against the terrorist are expected to include attempting to orchestrate a coup against the government and joining an outlawed organization.

Tip of the Iceberg, Plot to Overthrow Mubarak
The report accused the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood of conspiring with Iran, Syria and Qatar, as well as the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization and the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist group, both funded by Iran, to overthrow the government of President Hosni Mubarak.

Each participant had its own part to play in the conspiracy, charged the state-run newspaper, which held out its fiercest criticism for Hamas, which it called the "military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood" and which it said was supported by all conspirators. The article claimed that Hamas has inflicted one "nakba" (tragedy, in Arabic) after another on the Palestinian Authority Arabs by dragging Israel into military confrontations.

Iran was tasked with providing arms and manipulating the media, it said, as well as coordinating with Hizbullah to operate a spy ring in Egypt to incite the Sinai Bedouin against the government.

Syria, claimed the report, was responsible for harboring Hamas leaders and helping Qatar organize an illegitimate Arab summit that was used to validate Hamas and Iran, in violation of Arab League regulations.

Qatar, it said, used its state-owned Al Jazeera satellite television news network to provide a public platform for Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah, and Muslim Brotherhood chief Mahdi Akef.

The Muslim Brotherhood has long been a thorn in the side of the Mubarak administration, which regularly sends out police to make security sweeps and arrest its members for incitement against the government.

Egyptian authorities have arrested 49 suspects in connection with the case and are searching for 13 others, according to the report.

Cairo has increased security near the Gaza border in hopes of stopping weapons smuggling by Hamas terrorists who rule the region.

An Egyptian security official announced on Saturday that five smuggler tunnels were uncovered last week north of Rafiah, the town straddling the border with Gaza. 

Authorities plan to destroy the tunnels, which contained "motorbikes, food and computer parts," according to the source. Egypt has become increasingly invested in cracking down on smuggling from its territory into Gaza, due to pressure from the United States and Israel.