The Freeland File
Global Market Data
Tales from the Trail
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. Full Article
Images of January
Best photos of the year 2011
Microsoft unveils Windows 8 for public test
Boeing delivers biggest 747 to secret VIP buyer
28 Feb 2012
Romney survives in Michigan, eyes on Super Tuesday
Banks gorge on 530 billion euros of ECB funds
Ohio school shooter confesses as death toll climbs
28 Feb 2012
Taliban urge Afghans to attacks Westerners
Analysis: Can United States defuse Koran burning uproar?
Putin praises Cold War moles for stealing U.S. nuclear secrets
Sacha Baron Cohen gets a warning from Oscar
Fri, Feb 24 2012
U.S. Navy kicks off rail gun tests with a bang
Tue, Feb 28 2012
Dual victories for Romney
Tue, Feb 28 2012
Egypt detains Islamist, confusion over al Qaeda link
Al Qaeda kill 26 as new Yemeni leader is sworn in
Sat, Feb 25 2012
Iraq attacks kill 60, raise sectarian fears
Thu, Feb 23 2012
Saleh's deputy takes power in Yemen vote as sole candidate
Tue, Feb 21 2012
Violence hits Yemen on eve of presidential vote
Mon, Feb 20 2012
Yemen's Saleh faces music after 33 years in power
Mon, Feb 20 2012
Analysis & Opinion
Muslim Brotherhood founder’s brother questions the movement’s ideas
As the government-in-waiting, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood finds its voice
Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:50am EST
CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian Islamist, mistakenly identified as a senior al Qaeda commander because he has the same name, was detained at Cairo airport Wednesday for suspected militant activities, but said he had cut any links with al Qaeda more than two decades ago.
Mohamed Ibrahim Makkawi, born in 1954, was detained on return to Egypt from Pakistan, security sources said, but added that initial suspicions he was Saif al-Adel, an al Qaeda commander also known by the alias Mohamed Ibrahim Makkawi, were incorrect.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lists Saif al-Adel as born in 1960 or 1963. As well as the Makkawi alias, he is known by the name Ibrahim al-Madani, the FBI website says.
A security official said Makkawi was wanted in connection with a 1994 case dubbed "returnees from Afghanistan" in which suspects were accused of being a threat to the state after fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Makkawi told reporters at the airport that he had returned to Egypt to clear his name.
"I decided to return to Egypt to live in peace, without making any deal with the Egyptian authorities and to confirm my innocence of all charges directed against me," he said, after arriving from Pakistan via the United Arab Emirates.
He said he had been wrongly identified as Saif al-Adel because his name had been used as an alias, but said he had severed any links to the group in 1989, shortly after the organization was set up and several years before it declared its drive against the West and those it deemed foes of Islam.
"I did not carry out any operation against any installation or individual," said Makkawi, a former army officer in Egypt's special forces.
He said he knew former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri, then a top official in the group and now its leader, but said relations went no deeper than that.
Little is known about Saif al-Adel, but he is generally seen as a senior al Qaeda military commander who is believed to have opposed the September 11 attacks on U.S. targets, arguing that they were strategically ill-advised as they would invite a harsh U.S. response.
Since Hosni Mubarak was ousted a year ago, Egypt has released from jail dozens of people who had been involved in Islamist militant actions. Many of those held had finished their jail terms but were still detained while Mubarak was in power.
Many Islamists who fled abroad during the Mubarak era have returned since his overthrow.
(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Tim Pearce)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Advertise With Us
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.