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Egyptian man thought to be senior Al-Qaeda figure hands himself to police to clear name

London, Thu, 01 Mar 2012 ANI

London, Mar 1 (ANI): An Egyptian man whose name was on an FBI 'most wanted' list as an alias for a senior Al-Qaeda figure has handed himself in to the police in a bid to clear his reputation.


The news that Mohammed Ibrahim Mekkawi, a former member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, had been arrested at Cairo Airport caused a brief flurry of excitement at the possibility that the senior terrorist operative also known as "Saif al-Adel", or "Sword of Justice", had been captured.


But Makkawi denied any links to the terrorist network and claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.


"What has been said about me is lies. I never took part in actions against people or installations," The Telegraph quoted him, as saying.


The confusion was all the more surprising because the Egyptian authorities said they had been informed in advance that he was returning to clear up the misunderstanding, the paper said.


Mekkawi told reporters and analysts repeatedly by email from a hiding place in Pakistan that he was not the man they sought.


"I decided to come to Egypt to live in peace and because I am certain of my innocence," he said.


Egyptian-born Al-Adel has been indicted by the United States for an alleged role in the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed 224 people.


He was briefly announced as the interim leader after the death of Osama bin Laden last year, until the formal appointment of Zawahiri to replace him.


Meanwhile, US officials also said they did not believe the man arrested was a senior al-Qaeda figure.


"We're aware of reports of an arrest in Cairo and are working with Egyptian authorities to determine the identity of the man arrested," the paper quoted an FBI spokesman, as saying. (ANI)


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