A man arrested Wednesday at Cairo airport is an Egyptian Islamist militant, but not the senior al-Qaeda operative Seif al-Adel as it was previously suspected, security officials said.
"He is wanted because of his links with the (Islamic) Jihad. He is not Seif al-Adel," an Egyptian national security source revealed.
Egyptian officials and state television reported earlier that an Egyptian named by the United States as one of al-Qaeda's top figures has been arrested in Cairo, but he has denied the link and says it was a case of mistaken identity.
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Security and airport officials say Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi was arrested upon his arrival in Cairo on an Emirates flight from Pakistan with a stopover in Dubai. He was taken in for questioning.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, Makkawi said he was not the senior al-Qaeda leader known as Saif al-Adel and that he had nothing to do with the terror group since 1989.
On its website, the FBI says Adel has been indicted for alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The US has listed the name Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi as the real name of Saif al-Adel, a pseudonym that means "sword of justice." But former militants who know both men have previously said they are two different people and the US identification is incorrect.
Following bin Laden’s death at the hands of US special forces in May last year, Adel was reported to have taken over the militant network before the appointment of another Egyptian, bin Laden’s longtime deputy Mohammed al-Zawahiri.
AP and AFP contributed to the report
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