Qaeda man’s arrest in Syria denied
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Cairo - Mohammed al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qaeda's chief, Saturday dismissed as baseless media reports that Syrian government troops recently arrested him while he was on an aid mission in the conflict-torn country.
“I came out of prison less than a year ago after spending 15 years there. Since then, I have not left Egypt,” he told the state-run newspaper al-Ahram in Cairo.
The British newspaper, The Independent, Saturday reported that Mohammed, the brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was detained in the Syrian province of Daraa, where he was allegedly meeting with opposition activists.
The paper, citing rebel fighters, said that Mohammed, 59, had been on a humanitarian mission and had not been involved in violent acts in Syria.
“It (the report) is devoid of truth and is an attempt to raise fears about Islamists,” he told al-Ahram.
In the late 1990s, an Egyptian military court convicted Mohammed on terrorism charges and sentenced him to death.
The sentence was revoked in June 2011, four months after a popular Egyptian revolt forced Hosny Mubarak to step down.
Syria's 21-month-old conflict is believed to have drawn hundreds of Jihadists into the country to fight alongside the opposition in ousting President Bashar al-Assad. - Sapa-dpa