19 al-Qaeda suspects held: Egypt Minister

Egypt claimed Bin-Laden`s al-Qaeda is setting up terror cells in Gaza Strip.

Cairo: Authorities in Egypt have arrested
19 Arabs for suspected links with al-Qaeda, as a top Egyptian
minister claimed that the banned outfit was trying to
establish terror cells in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt`s Interior Minister, General Habib Adli, made
the claim in an interview with Al-Ahram newspaper, revealing
that Egyptian security forces have arrested 19 suspected
al-Qaida militants.

He said security forces also confiscated weapons,
ammunition and documents related to al-Qaida. He did not say
exactly when or where the arrests took place.

Egypt claimed that Osama bin-Laden`s al-Qaeda is
trying to establish terror cells in the Gaza Strip, the media
report said.

Adli told the Egyptian daily that al-Qaeda militants
enter the Gaza Strip through tunnels located in the south near
the city of Rafah.

Hamas, the Islamist group which rules Gaza, is trying
to prevent the establishment of the al-Qaeda cells, he said,
stressing that it was in Egypt`s interest to destroy the

The 19 al-Qaeda activists arrested by Egypt are
suspected of planning suicide bombings at holy sites
throughout the country, the Egyptian Interior Minister said,
claiming that one of those apprehended is suspected of
involvement in a deadly bombing at a church in Alexandria on
New Year`s eve.

The church was hit by a car bomb, killing at least
17 people and leaving 43 others wounded.