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Egypt: Prisoners

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the arrest by the Egyptian authorities of 49 people allegedly linked to a cell assigned by Hezbollah for the purpose of carrying out terrorist attacks in Egypt. (277496)

In April 2009, the Egyptian authorities announced that they had arrested a group of people with alleged links to a Hezbollah cell. The cell is reported to have been made up of 49 people of various nationalities, including Egyptians, Lebanese and Palestinians. The Egyptian authorities have confirmed that none of the suspects are British nationals.

The Egyptian authorities allege that the cell was established by Hezbollah with the aim of attacking targets inside Egypt, including Israeli tourists and ships passing through the Suez Canal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he has and (b) his officials have had with the Egyptian government on the recent arrest of 49 people allegedly linked to a cell assigned by Hezbollah. (277497)

I discussed the Hezbollah case with the Egyptian ambassador in London on 22 April 2009. I also raised it during my visit to Cairo on 20-21 May 2009 with the Egyptian Minister for Parliamentary and Legal Affairs, Dr. Moufied Shehab.

Officials at our embassy in Cairo remain in regular contact with the Egyptian government.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the detention by Egyptian authorities of a Hezbollah operative allegedly attempting to provide logistical and military assistance to Gaza-based militants. (277506)

In April 2009, the Egyptian authorities announced that they had arrested a group of people with alleged links to a Hezbollah cell. The cell is reported to have been made up of 49 people of various nationalities, including Egyptians, Lebanese and Palestinians. The Egyptian authorities have confirmed that none of the suspects are British nationals.

The Egyptian authorities allege that the cell was established by Hezbollah with the aim of attacking targets inside Egypt, including Israeli tourists and ships passing through the Suez Canal. According to media reports, the suspects themselves and the Hezbollah leadership claim that the objective of the Egypt cell was to provide support and assistance to militants in Gaza.