The ministry said members of the cell, led by two Egyptians living abroad, were found in possession of weapons and explosives.

'Outside' connection

"(The cell) worked on organising terrorist operations in the country and outside," the Egyptian interior ministry statement said.

"Some members were commissioned to enter Gaza to receive advanced training in explosives preparation ... before returning to the country."

Quoting Egyptian officials, Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh in Cairo said that the suspects were allegedly planning to attack tourist resorts in Sinai as well as oil pipelines connecting Egypt with Israel.

"The authorities also say that the Belgian suspect of Tunisian origin confessed that [the suspects] were planning to carry out an attack in France," she said.

"The authorities say they are on the lookout for more suspects who are on the run over and above the seven in custody."

February bombing

Egyptian officials said 24 people, mostly tourists, were injured in the February bombing in addition to the French fatality.

It was the first deadly attack on tourists in the country since bombs killed at least 23 people at a resort in the Sinai peninsula in 2006.

Cairo initially blamed that attack on bedouins with militant views.

Anti-government groups have sporadically struck tourist targets in recent years through bomb and shooting attacks, damaging an industry that is one of Egypt's main sources of revenue.

Many Arabs accuse Egypt of helping Israel to enforce a blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip by not opening its borders to allow people and supplies in and out of the Strip.