Cairo, Jan 25 (Agencies): Egyptian Interior Minister General Habib Adli claimed on Tuesday that 19 Arabs suspected of links to al-Qaeda were arrested in Egypt en route to Iraq.

Habib Adli, made the claim in an interview with Al-Ahram newspaper, revealing the suspects were planning to carry out terrorist attacks against various places of worship in Egypt.

He said security forces also confiscated weapons, ammunition and documents related to al-Qaida. He did not say exactly when or where the arrests took place.

Egypt claimed that Osama bin-Laden's al-Qaeda is trying to establish terror cells in the Gaza Strip, the media report said.

Adli told the Egyptian daily that al-Qaeda militants enter the Gaza Strip through tunnels located in the south near the city of Rafah.

Hamas, the Islamist group which rules Gaza, is trying to prevent the establishment of the al-Qaeda cells, he said, stressing that it was in Egypt's interest to destroy the tunnels.

The 19 al-Qaeda activists arrested by Egypt are suspected of planning suicide bombings at holy sites throughout the country, the Egyptian Interior Minister said, claiming that one of those apprehended is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing at a church in  Alexandria on New Year's eve, that had left 17 people dead and 43 injured.