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Egypt deports German national over suspected IS links

Egypt has been battling an insurgency in North Sinai [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 January, 2019

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Authorities in Egypt arrested two German nationals on suspicion they tried to join an Islamic State group affiliate and deported one of them, Egyptian security sources said on Friday.
Egypt has arrested two German nationals on suspicion they tried to join an Islamic State group affiliate and deported one of them, Egyptian security sources said on Friday.

German media reported earlier this month that two Germans had gone missing after arriving separately in Egypt in December.

Germany's foreign ministry on Friday confirmed the return of one German national and said another was still in Egyptian custody.

The families of both men believe their arrests were cases of mistaken identity. And Egyptian authorities had previously denied the arrests to AFP.

One man was detained at Cairo International Airport over suspicions he was seeking to join the IS jihadist group in Egypt's turbulent northern Sinai region, the Egyptian sources said. 

The suspect, who Germany said was 23, was reportedly arrested on 27 December.

"Since he did not commit any crime under the Egyptian law and gave up the Egyptian nationality, the authorities decided to deport him to his country of nationality - Germany - in coordination with the German embassy," one of sources said.

A German foreign ministry spokesman confirmed that the man had arrived back in the country late on Thursday.

The spokesman said the German embassy in Cairo had received confirmation that a second German, aged 18, was also being held and that the mission was seeking consular access to him.

The second suspect was reportedly arrested in mid-December after landing in the southern city of Luxor.

He was found with maps of North Sinai in his possession and authorities believe he came to Egypt with the intent of joining IS as well, the Egyptian security sources said.

Procedures were still underway for his deportation to Germany.

The German foreign ministry said it could provide no information on Egypt's accusation that the men were IS followers or whether they would be questioned in Germany.

Egypt has been battling an insurgency in North Sinai, which surged following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In February, security forces launched a major operation focused on the turbulent region, aimed at wiping out an IS affiliate accused of spearheading the insurgency.

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