Security forces in Egypt have thwarted two assassination attempts on the country’s President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi.
Egyptian police have successfully dismantled a network of 22 terror cells, spanning almost 300 fighters, with links to the Islamic State terror group, Nabil Sadek, the country’s Prosecutor General revealed Sunday.
The plot also involved an attempted assassination of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.
One hundred and fifty one suspects are in custody and have been referred to the country’s military court. Authorities believe they belong to Al Wilayat Sinai, the Sinai affiliate of the Islamic State.
According to investigators, the first foiled plot included a joint effort by terror cells operating in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. There was an attempt to murder Sisi during a visit to Saudi Arabia in 2014, when he embarked on a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy site of Mecca.
In a separate plot, six former police officers and a dentist whose role remains unclear, planned an attack on Sisi’s presidential convoy as it traveled through Cairo.
The men were formerly members of the “I Am a Bearded Police Officer” coalition, a group of police officers who in 2012 grew beards as a sign of faithfulness to the Prophet Muhammad.
The country’s Minister of Interior at the time ruled the men must shave their beards, declaring that “police officers are required to maintain a presentable appearance like all those working in sectors related to security.” They were also demoted to the country’s reserve police forces.
According to authorities, the group collaborated with ISIS’ Egypt affiliate to murder Sisi, referring to the country’s president and judiciary as “kuffar,” a derogatory term typically used to describe the non-believer.
The prosecutor has referred the case to the country’s military court.