The leader of an Egyptian terrorist cell that planned attacks in Egypt and may be linked with the storming of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 has been arrested by Egyptian intelligence officers, according to an official close to Egypt’s intelligence agency and a senior U.S. official.
Mohammad Jamal Abdo Ahmed had become one of Egypt’s most dangerous terrorists and led a small cell of Egyptians that collected suicide vests, bombs and grenades before their Cairo safe house was raided by intelligence officials in late October, according to the U.S. official.
Most of the cell’s targets were Egyptian, but both the U.S. and Egyptian officials said Ahmed admitted to traveling to Libya and assisting Ansar al Sharia, which U.S. officials suspect organized the attack on the consulate that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
Until now, neither the United States nor Egypt has determined exactly what role Ahmed played in the attack in eastern Libya, according to both officials.
Ahmed may have also been planning attacks on U.S. targets in Egypt and neighboring countries, the U.S. official said, and had aspirations to join al Qaeda.
Ahmed, who is Egyptian, was arrested two weeks ago in eastern Egypt in the Sharqiyah province, theEgyptian official said.
Egyptian officials continue to question him and he will remain in custody for another 15 days, according to the Egyptian official.
His arrest was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.