CAIRO, SEPT. 19 -- Egyptian police have arrested at least two men in connection with the ambush four months ago of American diplomats here, the semiofficial newspaper Al Ahram said today.
Al Ahram said the arrested men, Mahmoud Nureddin and Sayed Ali Suleiman, had been involved in the killing of an Israeli diplomat at the Cairo trade fair in early 1986. A group calling itself Egypt's Nasserist Revolution claimed responsibility for the attacks. The group has described itself as an indigenous organization opposed to the government and its peace treaty with Israel.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman refused comment on the arrests, although they were confirmed by other western diplomats. Al Ahram said the prosecutor in the case has banned publication -- by both local and foreign journalists here -- of details of the case.
In June, a carload of gunmen cut in front of three American diplomats driving to work and opened fire. Two of the diplomats were cut by flying glass, but the driver managed to turn the car around and escape.
The assault and subsequent escape of the gunmen embarrassed the Egyptian government and police, who also had been unable to make arrests in earlier attacks on Israeli diplomats.
The government has argued that the group Egypt's Revolution does not exist and that the attackers were not Egyptians. Foreign diplomats, however, have suggested that the group may include former security and military officers loyal to the memory of the late president Gamal Abdel Nasser who are opposed to Egypt's peace with Israel and other policies.
In a communique intercepted by Egyptian police, the group called itself "men of the armed forces" and lashed out against President Hosni Mubarak for a "defeatist" policy that had allowed Israel and the United States to "run amok" over Egypt and disarm it. The group praised Egypt's defense minister, Field Marshal Abdel Halim Abu Ghazala, for identifying Israel as Egypt's main enemy and urged a "popular revolution" within the armed forces. The group maintained it was indigenous and warned Palestinian organizations "against using the name Egypt's Revolution in some of their suspect operations."
Al Ahram did not say whether the accused were Nasserites or were former police or military men.