Egyptian police arrest militants accused of recruiting for Islamic State

by Reuters
Sunday, 5 October 2014 15:03 GMT

CAIRO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Egyptian police have arrested four Islamic militants accused of recruiting youths to fight for Islamic State, the Mena state news agency said.

Mena reported that the men were arrested in the Mediterranean city of Port Said on Sunday and confessed to being part of an eight-strong cell, with the four remaining members currently in Syria.

The men are being held pending investigation, Mena added.

Islamic State, which has declared a cross-border caliphate in Iraq and Syria, has attracted a following among Egyptian Islamists on social media sites. Egyptian security sources estimate that up to 8,000 Egyptians are fighting abroad with militant groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda.

Islamic State, an offshoot of al Qaeda, recently urged Egyptian militants to press ahead with attacks on security forces and beheadings.

Militants in Sinai have killed scores of police and soldiers over the past year.

Islamic State, made up of Iraqis, other Arabs and foreign fighters, has been coaching members of the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group on how to operate more effectively, a senior Ansar commander told Reuters in September. (Reporting by Ali Abdelatti; Writing by Lin Noueihed; Editing by David Goodman)

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