Egyptian authorities have apprehended 13 members of the Muslim Brotherhood suspected of planting bombs around the country’s major waterway, the Suez Canal, Reuters reports citing unnamed security sources on Monday.
The move was aimed at disrupting shipping at the canal, which is estimated of handling around 10% of all global maritime trade, equaling to 18,000 ships per year.
As informed, the group includes an employee of the Suez Canal Authority and will be detained for 15 days in line with the prosecutors’ order. They are believed of having placed bombs around the canal’s sanitation areas and surrounding beaches.
The Egyptian government has been very adamant in their policy against the Brotherhood, which it regards as a terrorist group, not much different from the Islamic State.
The plotting of the suspected attack comes as Egypt readies for the official inauguration of the New Suez Canal set for August 6th.
The canal is undergoing a major upgrade project aimed at attracting more traffic to the route.
A total of 242.1 million cubic meters of water-saturated sand have so far been lifted at the New Suez Canal project, according to the latest update.
The figure represents about 93 percent of the targeted 258 million cubic meters that should be dredged, added the report.
The expansion project will pave the way for a transit of ships of up to 20 meters in draft, thus increasing the revenue of the canal to up to USD 17 billion a year.
World Maritime News Staff