Egyptian authorities have confirmed two German nationals suspected of attempting to join an Islamic State group affiliate have been arrested, and one was deported, Egyptian security sources said Friday.
German media reported earlier this month that two Germans had gone missing after arriving separately in Egypt in December.
The families of both men believe their arrests were cases of mistaken identity. And Egyptian authorities had previously denied the arrests to AFP.
One man is a 24-year-old detained at Cairo International Airport over suspicions he was seeking to join the jihadist IS group in Egypt’s turbulent northern Sinai region, the sources said. He was reportedly arrested on December 27.
“Since he did not commit any crime under the Egyptian law and gave up the Egyptian nationality, the authorities decided to deport him to his country of nationality – Germany – in coordination with the German embassy,” one of sources said.
Another 18-year old German national was also arrested, reportedly in mid-December, after landing in the southern city of Luxor.
He was found with maps of North Sinai in his possession and authorities believe he came to Egypt with the intent of joining ISIS as well, the sources said.
Procedures are still underway for his deportation to Germany.
Egypt has been battling an insurgency in North Sinai, which surged following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
In February, security forces launched a major operation focused on the turbulent region, aimed at wiping out an affiliate of the Islamic State group accused of spearheading the insurgency.