Egyptian sources revealed on Sunday that two months ago its intelligence forces arrested approximately two dozen terrorists who planned to attack Jews visiting the tomb of the revered 19th century Rabbi Yaakov Abhatzeira.
They also plotted to strike American ships in the Suez Canal and banks in Cairo and Alexandria.
The terrorists also were in possession of a large quantity of explosives used for Hamas rocket attacks. The cell was attempting to join the "Jihad in Darfur" and had been training at a desert camp near the Mediterranean Coast.
The arrests were first revealed by the Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm, which said the cell was the first "armed jihadist" organization arrested in the country since the 1990s. Last year, Egyptian authorities arrested three other terrorist cells, including a Hizbullah-affiliated group now on trial for planning attacks on tourists and ships.
The terrorists confessed to a plot to attack a large group of Jews who visited the rabbi’s tomb last November under heavy guard. The pilgrimage had been canceled the year before because of the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist war in Gaza. Rabbi Abhatzeira was a sage in Morocco whose written works include Kabbalistic writings and interpretations on the Book of Psalms and the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.