Terrorists who were arrested in Egypt over the weekend were planning to attack the U.S. and French embassies in Cairo, Egyptian officials said Wednesday. The three are members of a terror organization, but Egyptian officials stopped short of admitting that the terrorists belonged to Al Qaeda.
The U.S. embassy in Cairo warned American citizens to watch their steps while visiting the country. A recent knife attack on an American outside the embassy, along with the uncovering of the plot, “serve as yet another reminder of the need to exercise good situational awareness,” the embassy said in an e-mail.
Reports said that Egyptian officials had arrested three Egyptians with Al-Qaeda links in the plot. According to Egypt's Middle East News Agency (MENA), the two were in possession of 10 kilos (22 pounds) of explosives. The terrorists planned to use the explosives in car bombs that were to be aimed at the U.S. and French embassies, officials said. “The investigations revealed that the suspects were intending to carry out terrorist bomb operations inside Egypt via suicide operations, penetrating the security cordon in front of the American and French embassies with a car bomb,” MENA was quoted in the reports as saying.
The terrorists had escaped from prison in 2011, during the riots that took place in the wake of protests that led to the removal of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak from office.
Despite the arrests, Egyptian officials stressed that there was “no Al Qaeda infrastructure in the country,” and that the arrested terrorists operated without the benefit of a large, local network.