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Second German deported from Egypt over suspected 'IS' links

January 14, 2019

Isa El Sabbagh has arrived in Frankfurt after disappearing in Egypt in December. Egyptian authorities held him for weeks without telling his family.

Salafist - Deutschland
Image: Imago/Reporters/M. Meuris

The Egyptian government announced on Monday that it had deported another man back to Germany, the second suspect deported from Cairo after being detained for terrorist sympathies. Isa El Sabbagh, 18, was allegedly found with several maps of Egypt's North Sinai region, a gathering point for terrorist groups.

The man was missing for several weeks before Egyptian authorities confirmed that they had detained him on suspicion of supporting the ideology of "Islamic State" (IS). According to German news magazine Der Spiegel, the young man has already arrived at Frankfurt Airport.

Families claim mistaken identity

Last week, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, 23, was also deported back to Germany after reportedly trying to join IS in North Sinai.

Both Aziz and El Sabbagh hold dual German and Egyptian citizenship, but make their homes in the German cities of Göttingen and Giessen, respectively. Aziz traveled to Egypt from Saudi Arabia, where he was studying at the Islamic University of Medina. El Sabbagh was arrested at the Luxor Airport, where he claimed he was traveling to visit his grandfather.

German authorities have said that they are probing whether there were "any indications of criminal offenses" on the part of the two men. Both families reject this, saying that these are cases of mistaken identity. Aziz has posted a video to Facebook where he denies any involvement or interest in IS.

Cairo has been fighting off a longtime insurgency in North Sinai that has taken on an even larger scope since the 2013 military removal of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

es/msh (AFP, dpa)