A man arrested by authorities Wednesday as an Al Qaeda mastermind and confidant of Osama bin Laden turned out to be a onetime militant looking for redemption before he was nabbed in a case of mistaken identity, according to Egyptian state media. Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi, a former Egyptian army officer who said he fought with jihadists decades ago, was arrested at the Cairo International Airport after landing on a flight from Pakistan via Dubai. He was not, state media outlets said, who officials first said he was: Saif al-Adel, an Al Qaeda leader wanted for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa that killed 224 people.
Makkawi deserted from the army in the 1980s amid revelations that he was linked to extremists and angry over Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. He traveled to Saudi Arabia and then to Afghanistan to fight with militants against Russian forces who had occupied the country. He reportedly renounced Al Qaeda years ago, but was wanted for questioning in Egypt as a possible threat to national security.
Read more: LA Times