Egyptian security forces have arrested four suspected members of a cell recruiting fighters for the “Islamic State” (IS or ISIS) group in Syria, The Associated Press (AP) reported on Sunday.
Egypt’s MENA news agency reported that the four suspects, all of Egyptian nationality, were arrested in the Suez Canal city of Port Said.
The report quoted a senior local security official as saying the four confessed to recruiting young fighters to join the Islamic State jihadists in Syria. MENA said that according to the men's confessions, another four Egyptians, also members of the cell, are already in Syria.
Many Egyptians have traveled to Syria to join various rebel groups - including Al-Qaeda and extremist factions such as ISIS, noted AP.
The phenomenon of locals leaving their countries to join ISIS is not a problem of Egypt alone. Western countries have suffered from this as well, sparking fears that these locals would return home from Syria or Iraq and carry out terrorist attacks in their own countries.
Russians, Americans, Canadians and French citizens are among those to have been known to be taking part in the fighting in the Middle East. Australia recently apprehended an Islamist terror cell whose members planned to behead a random member of the public.
In an attempt to fight this, some countries have passed laws directly targeting ISIS and other Muslim organizations.
Germany recently announced a ban on ISIS, with the German government explaining it aimed to prevent the group from recruiting young jihadists in the country.
Austria last week called for standardized German-language translations of the Koran and moved to prohibit foreign funding of Muslim organizations on its soil in a draft law aimed in part at tackling Islamic extremism.