Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 October 2019

One of Egypt’s most wanted militants, Hisham Ashmawi, on trial

It follows his extraditon from Libya last month

Hisham Ashmawi after his capture in the former ISIS stronghold of Derna, Libya
Hisham Ashmawi after his capture in the former ISIS stronghold of Derna, Libya

An Egyptian militant captured in Libya and returned to Cairo was put on trial again on Tuesday over five terror attacks, including one for which he has already received a death sentence in absentia, according to local media.

Hisham Ashmawi – one of the country’s most-wanted militants – “is accused of carrying out terror operations against the army, police forces and civilians” killing 54 people in total, news website Ahram reported.

His retrial was being held in a military court, the site said.

He was sentenced to death in 2017 in absentia by an Egyptian military court over his involvement in attacking and killing soldiers at a checkpoint near the porous border with Libya.

Authorities have also linked Ashmawi with high-profile attacks including a 2013 assassination attempt on then-interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim and the 2015 killing of a top public prosecutor.

He was flown back to Cairo in May, after being handed over by Libyan National Army chief Khalifa Haftar whose forces captured him in 2018 in the eastern city of Derna.

Field Marshal Haftar’s forces, who have launched an offensive against the UN-recognised government in Tripoli, seized Derna last summer.

A former officer with Egypt’s special forces, Ashmawi was dismissed in 2012 over concerns about his religious views.

He joined the Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al Maqdis but broke from the group after it pledged allegiance to ISIS in November 2014.

Known by the nom de guerre Abu Omar Al Muhajir, Ashmawi announced the formation of the Al Qaeda-aligned militant group Al Mourabitoun in Libya in July 2015.

He is also accused of being behind attacks in Egypt’s Western Desert region.

Updated: June 26, 2019 04:30 PM

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