Egypt has successfully secured the transfer of Hesham El-Ashmawy, one of the most wanted terrorists in Egypt, from his place of detention in Libya to Egypt on Tuesday night, according to a statement issued by the Media Office of the Egyptian Armed Forces
Egyptian TV stations showed live footage on Tuesday night of Egyptian special forces walking a blind-folded and heavily-guarded El-Ashmawy off an Egyptian Armed Forces military plane onto Cairo Airport.
The highly secured transfer operation, which involved various Egyptian special forces branches, followed a meeting earlier on Tuesday of the Head of Egypt’s General Intelligence General Abbas Kamel with the Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) General Khalifa Haftar at the LNA headquarters in Al-Rajma, Libya.
The meeting discussed the operations to combat terrorism in the region.
El-Ashmawy headed one of the terrorist organisations in the city of Derna, and carried out a number of bloody terrorist operations both in Libya and Egypt, the Egyptian Armed Forces said.
The Libyan armed forces captured El-Ashmawy during the war to liberate Derna, the statement explained.
El-Ashmawy was handed over to Egyptian authorities according to the long-standing judicial agreement between Egypt and Libya, and after the carrying out of all required procedures and the conclusion of investigations by the armed forces with him, the statement explained.
Multiple terrorist attacks
El-Ashmawy was arrested in October 2018 by the LNA in Libya’s Eastern city of Derna.
His top associate Safwat Zidan was also arrested in Derna in the same month.
El-Ashmawy, who is considered one of Egypt’s top wanted and most dangerous terrorists in the past six years, was born in 1978 and graduated in 2000 from the military academy.
In 2007, a military court transferred El-Ashmawy to an administrative post before his dismissal from the army in 2011.
He later joined the North Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis terrorist group.
El-Ashmawy, also known as Abu Omar El-Mohager (the immigrant), is considered among the most dangerous terrorists linked to many attacks in Egypt.
He broke away from Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis following its swearing of allegiance to Daesh, announcing the formation in July 2015 of the Mourabitoun organisation in Libya, which is loyal to the Al-Qaeda terrorist organisation.
In Libya, El-Ashmawy fled Sirte to Derna under pressure from the LNA operations.
El-Ashmawy is believed to have been involved in an assassination attempt on former Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, and the murder of top prosecutor Hisham Barakat, as well as the attack on Egyptian border guards in February 2015, which resulted in the death of 29 Armed Forces personnel.
He is also believed to be behind a deadly attack on Christian pilgrims in Upper Egypt's Minya governorate in May 2017, which killed 29 people.
In January 2015, his group was suspected of staging a multi-pronged attack on the headquarters of the Army Battalion 101 Headquarters in El-Arish in North Sinai, which killed 30 soldiers and officers.
An Egyptian military court sentenced him in absentia, along with 13 other terrorists, to death over the New Valley massacre in Farafra on 19 July 2014, where 22 border guards were killed.