Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim told journalists Sunday that the Ministry of Interior was considering a weapons deal with Russia since the United States and European Union were “stifling” arms imports after Mohamed Morsi’s 3 July ouster, state-run Al-Ahram reported.
The ministry said that they had no available information and refused to comment any further.
Ibrahim, who was appointed to his post by ousted, Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi, said the ministry was looking to Russia because of a lack of arms to combat “terrorist elements”.
According to Ibrahim, such “elements” are mostly Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated militants.
“The terrorist groups are hiding in rural areas and shanty towns, and so we need adequate investigations and preparation in order to make a proper attack plan for such places,” Ahram quoted Ibrahim as saying.
“The Muslim Brotherhood uses the shanty towns and working class areas because it is hard to deal with these places,” Ibrahim said, adding that “After the 25 January Revolution, the Egyptian police had a tough two years, leading to a proliferation of weapons and also giving terrorist groups the time to reorganise themselves.”
On 19 March, Egyptian army personnel raided an alleged bomb factory in Qaliubiya, killing five suspected militants and arresting four others after an exchange of gunfire killed two army explosives experts. The Al-Qaeda-inspired militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis released a statement claiming the militants as their own, releasing a poster of the clean-cut, young men shortly after the attack.
The raid was an apparent response to a 15 March attack that killed five army conscripts in Mostorod. Army engineers disabled two bombs that were placed to target rescue services.
The Muslim Brotherhood immediately denied involvement in the shooting, sending their condolences to the victims of what it called “criminal aggression”.
“The Brotherhood criticises the accusation of the army spokesman who wakes up every morning to ascribe every crime and catastrophe to the group with neither any investigation nor proof,” the statement continued.
The Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation on 25 December after a car bomb targeting a security directorate in Daqahleya resulted in 16 deaths and over 140 injuries. Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis issued a statement shortly after the attack claiming responsibility.
Although Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis has claimed almost every significant attack in Sinai and mainland Egypt since Morsi’s ouster on 3 July, the group, based in the lawless Sinai Peninsula, has yet to be listed a terrorist organisation. A trial concerning their status as a terrorist organisation is scheduled to take place Monday.