Update: Authorities release Palestinians detained at airport

Authorities CairoInternational Airport authorities have released seven Palestiniansarrested earlier on Wednesday and will deport them to Gaza Thursday.

Security at Cairo International Airport had earlier detained the seven Palestinians after from Syria Wednesday, after finding maps of vital state facilities in their possession.

A security source said that photos and maps in the travelers’ possession displayed facilities in the Gaza Strip, not in Egypt.

“All plans sketched in the maps, which included assault strategies, IED manufacture, night combat, and checkpoint management, were all part of their work at a Palestinian security agency and are not aimed at Egypt or any other country,” the source explained, without naming the agency to which they belonged.

A security source told Turkish news agency Anadolu that the suspects had initially entered Egypt through underground tunnels from Gaza before heading to Syria and Iran and then returning to Syria. The seven were arrested after returning to Egypt from Syria, this time by air.

The source said passport officers suspected the seven after learning they had entered Iran, despite not finding Iranian entry stamps in their passports.

In February, security sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the Interior Ministry was tracking 500 Palestinian citizens who allegedly belonged to Palestinian militant faction Hamas, and who are accused of illegally entering the country in between 14 and 24 February. The sources said police found weapons after raiding the suspects' apartments.

Hamas, widely considered as the Palestinian extension of Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood, has repeatedly denied accusations of seeking to destabilize Egypt.

A political adviser to Hamas-affiliated Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh threatened Saturday to sue Egyptian media outlets for reporting false news about the faction and its relationship with the Egyptian government.

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