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Egypt Says Terror Group Broken Up

Egyptian authorities say they have smashed a terrorist group that was planning attacks in and near the capital.

The Interior Ministry says the secretive organization called itself the Victorious Sect, and its targets included tourist sites, religious leaders, and a natural gas pipeline.

A ministry spokesman, Major General Abdel-Karim, told VOA that all 22 members of the group have been arrested.

He says, this group was planning and organizing to conduct a number of terrorist operations, attacking some economic and tourist targets in greater Cairo. They were also targeting some religious figures, both Muslim and Christian, to create a split in Egyptian society.

The ministry says the secretive organization used code names and was led by a 26-year-old student named Ahmed Mohamed Ali Gabr, also known as Abu Musab. The ministry says his second-in-command is a preacher.

The general says the men used the Internet to research how to make explosives and poisons. He did not say whether they were successful in actually making them.

The interior ministry says the group was trying to buy a plot of land to use as a training base in a rural area outside Cairo. They also allegedly made contact with what the ministry calls foreign elements for help, and possibly for sending members abroad.

Major General Hamdi Abdel-Karim said the group's foreign contacts are still under investigation.

The Interior Ministry statement called the group's ideology deviant, extremist ideas far from true Islam.

Egypt has suffered a number of terrorist attacks in recent years, including the multiple car bombings last year in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, where at least 67 people were killed. Two smaller bombings in Cairo in 2005 killed four people.