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Egypt arrests man mistakenly thought to be Qaeda chief

01 March, 2012

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CAIRO: An Egyptian Islamist, mistakenly identified as a senior al Qaeda commander because he has the same name, was detained at Cairo airport on Wednesday for suspected militant activities, but said he had cut any links with al Qaeda more than two decades ago.

Mohamed Ibrahim Makkawi was detained on return to Egypt from Pakistan, security sources said, but added that initial suspicions he was Saif al-Adel, an al Qaeda commander also known by the alias Mohamed Ibrahim Makkawi, were incorrect.

The FBI lists Saif al-Adel as born in 1960 or 1963. As well as the Makkawi alias, he is known by the name Ibrahim al-Madani, the FBI website says.

Makkawi told reporters at the airport that he had returned to Egypt to clear his name. "I decided to return to Egypt to live in peace, without making any deal with the Egyptian authorities and to confirm my innocence of all charges directed against me," he said.

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