Report: Cairo airport security mistook former jihadist for Al-Qaeda leader

Security forces mixed up the identities of Al-Qaeda leader Seif al-Adl and Egyptian Salafi jihadist Mohamed Ibrahim Makkawi after the latter was apprehended Wednesday, reported Al-Arabiya news website, based in Dubai, on Thursday.

Makkawi was released after questioning, state-run news service MENA reported.

Airport security said they apprehended the suspect after he came from Pakistan via the United Arab Emirates and was transferred to state security prosecution for investigation.

Egyptian authorities believed Makkawi was Adl and thus arrested him, a security source told Al-Arabiya.

Makkawi said in a public statement on Wednesday that his only link with Al-Qaeda was a friendship with Osama bin Laden that ended years ago.

“I was not convinced by the ideas of Al-Qaeda, because I feel that it is US-made,” he added. “I have not been involved in any of the attacks launched by the group in any part of the world during the years I spent in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Independent Youm7 said that Makkawi decided to come back to Egypt to clear his name after realizing he had been confused with Adl. The Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan issued documents allowing him to enter the country based on his request, he said.

The US has set US$5 million in reward to whoever can lead to the capture of Seif al-Adl, who is believed to have been involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

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