Egypt VP: Al Qaeda Operatives among Prison EscapeesWorld | February 9, 2011, Wednesday // 09:36| views
Egypt's newly appointed Vice President, Omar Suleiman. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Militant Islamists linked to Al Qaeda were among the thousands of prisoners who walked free from Egyptian jails last month during the unrest triggered by the massive protests against the president, the vice president said.
The escapees included members of "Jihadist organizations" who had not renounced their ideology or agreed to halt violence, Omar Suleiman said during a meeting with Egyptian journalists, as cited by the state news agency.
Suleiman said the Egyptian intelligence service he has headed for years had put "a lot of effort" into securing the extradition to Egypt of militants from abroad "linked to external leaderships, particularly Al Qaeda".
The escapees included prisoners who "had not agreed to the initiative to halt violence and are still convinced that society is godless and this is a great threat", he said. "We need a lot of effort to get them back (to jail)," he said.
He appeared to be referring to a ceasefire declared by the al-Gama'a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) in 1997, the year the group massacred 58 tourists in Luxor, southern Egypt.
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