CAIRO, March 11, 2011- The thieves were arrested while their leader was trying to sell the ambassador's stolen laptop to a fence earlier in the day, the sources said, adding that they found more than US3.5 million in his possession, the Egyptian Gazette has reported.
The gang leader, whose name was not disclosed for legal reasons, confessed to stopping the ambassador's car at gunpoint on the outskirts of Assiut City and opening fire at him before taking his valuables, two licensed handguns and money.
However, the arrested men claimed that the envoy had been in Assiut to conclude a deal for buying some antiquities from a trader, whom they knew very well and wanted to take his money before meeting him. The ambassador has strongly denied their allegation, saying that he was in the city to pay the annual fees for Yemeni postgraduate students attending Assiut University and not to buy stolen antiquities as they had claimed.
The sources said that they had sent a memorandum to the Foreign Ministry about the incident, demanding that the ambassador should be officially summoned to make a statement about the attack.
The Yemeni ambassador, meanwhile, has accused the eight men of attempting to assassinate him to steal his money and belongings. He also denied any involvement in trying to buy stolen antiquities from any person, confirming that the men's allegations were groundless. Investigators suspect the theft was an act of revenge by an expert gang, whose members knew the ambassador's moves.