Egypt militants planned to hit U.S. and French embassies

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An al Qaeda-linked militant cell detained in Egypt was planning suicide attacks on the French and U.S. embassies, the state news agency MENA reported on Wednesday, quoting investigators.

Authorities on Saturday announced the capture of three Egyptians with links to al Qaeda, saying they had been found in possession of 10 kg (22 pounds) of explosive materials.

“The investigations revealed that the suspects were intending to carry out terrorist bomb operations inside Egypt via suicide operations, penetrating the security cordon in front of the American and French embassies with a car bomb,” MENA said, citing a source in the state security prosecutor's office.

MENA said the suspects had escaped from prison during the uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011.

Prior to that, one of them had been extradited to Egypt from Algeria and another had been extradited from Iran, where he had gone to join groups fighting U.S. forces in Iraq and Gulf states, MENA reported.

He was caught by Iran in 2006 and deported to Egypt.

France's military intervention in Mali was cited as the men's motive for the planned attack on the French embassy.

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