Iran enters Egypt-Hezbollah row

April 15, 2009 at 5:19 PM
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CAIRO, April 15 (UPI) -- Egyptian security officials say they have vital information confirming suspicions that Hezbollah was plotting attacks on their country as Iran enters the fray.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the public prosecutor's office would reveal shocking information on the alleged Hezbollah plot, Gulf News reports.

Cairo said 25 militants arrested in the Sinai peninsula were part of a Hezbollah cell planted in Egypt. Authorities are looking for 24 other suspects.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah had called the allegations baseless but admitted one of the suspects was a Hezbollah intermediary used to coordinate weapons smuggling across the border to the Palestinian Hamas.

Muntasir al-Zayyat, a lawyer for one of the suspects, told Gulf News the Egyptian claims were overblown, saying his client was only serving Palestinian interests in the region.

Hezbollah, for its part, says the claims are politically motivated as Cairo sees its influence wane in the broader Middle East. Nabil Abdel Fattah with the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo told The Christian Science Monitor, however, that Hezbollah's presence in Egypt is a message from Iran.

"This is a message for Egypt," he said. "Iran is saying, 'We can achieve our goals across your territory, no matter sovereignty or national security.'"

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