Egypt arrests member of Hasm terrorist group after Istanbul-bound plane made emergency landing in Luxor

Ahram Online , Saturday 15 Jan 2022

The Egyptian authorities have reportedly arrested a member of Hasm terrorist group who was on a plane heading from Khartoum to Istanbul. The arrestee was apprehended when the plane made an emergency landing in Upper Egypt's Luxor due to a "spurious" smoke alarm.

luxor airport

The arrested passenger, according to media reports, was handed in 2017 a death sentence in absentia for establishing Hasm movement, which claimed responsibility for a number of attacks against Egyptian security personnel in the years following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013.

The Hasm member was on Flight J4690 which had to make an emergency landing in Upper Egypt's Luxor because of a smoke alarm from the cargo compartment, the flight operator, Sudan's privately owned Badr Airlines, said in a statement on Saturday.

The statement added that in such cases the plane must make an emergency landing in the nearest airport in compliance with the aviation laws, saying "the landing was performed seamlessly at Luxor International Airport in Egypt."

The plane was inspected, the company said, adding that the smoke warning was found to be false and therefore it sent the plane for maintenance in Bratislava, Slovakia, to adjust the alarm system, flying an alternative plane for the passengers to continue the trip.

As per aviation laws, embarking on another plane makes the Egyptian authorities part of the process. Hence, the passenger was arrested, the company added. 

Badr Airline asserted that it "has no connection with the actions taken by the Egyptian authorities [against the passenger], and that this does not fall within its responsibility."

The company is not aware of the reasons behind the arrest, the statement concluded.

Egypt's Ministry of Interior has yet to release a statement concerning the incident.

The arrested passenger is also reportedly implicated with others in a host of terrorism-related cases, including masterminding attempts at the life of, and assassinating, the country's former grand mufti Ali Gomaa, the prosecutor-general's deputy Zakaria Abdel-Aziz, and others.

Egyptian security forces have arrested and killed dozens of members of the terrorist group, which is placed on the terror list of Egypt, the UK, and the US.

The Egyptian authorities has tied the group to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

Turkey, whose government was a close ally to Hasm, has harboured several Muslim Brotherhood members after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on 30 June 2013, which led to the deterioration of relations between Egypt and Turkey.

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