- Middle East/North Africa
Mohamed al-Zawahri, the brother of Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri, has denied reports of his arrest in Syria.
Zawahri told state-run newspaper Al-Ahram that the reports were an attempt to ignite fear of Islamists, claiming that those who reported the news had previously failed to confront them "intellectually."
On Friday, the British news paper The Independent reported that Zawahiri is “said to have been seized in Daraa in the south-west where he was meeting opposition activists.” The paper quoted unidentified "rebel fighters" as saying that he was on a “humanitarian mission” to Syria.
Referring to media outlets that reported his arrest, Zawahiri said, "They do not know how to reply in a logical manner rather than the fabrication of charges."
Zawahri added that he was released from prison less than a year ago and that since then he has not left the country.
Ahmed Ashosh, a leading member of the organization Jihad, also denied Saturday rumors of Zawahiri's arrest, telling Al-Masry Al-Youm he was at his home in Cairo and had not left.
Zawahiri spent 14 years in Egyptian jail on terrorism charges, including involvement with the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat in 1981. He has repeatedly denied such charges.
He was released in March 2011, but later re-arrested. In March 2012 he was acquitted by a military court of all charges.