Egyptian terrorist, 40-year-old Hisham al-Ashmawi, was arrested today, Monday 8 October, during a security operation in Derna, Libya. The Libyan National Army announced that Ashmawi was caught alive, and posted a photograph of his blood-spattered face spattered.
Ashmawi has been handed a death sentence in absentia by an Egyptian court. Egypt wants him extradited.
The Islamist terrorist graduated from the Military Academy in 2000 and became an officer in the Egyptian Commandos until 2007 when a military court transferred him to an administrative post, supposedly on account of his Islamist leanings. He had started attending sessions by Islamist terrorist groups in 2006, yet denied any affiliation to them during an interrogation by the military, insisting instead that he was committed to military principles. In 2011, however, he was expelled from the army.
After his dismissal from the army, Ashmawi joined the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis jihadi group based in Sinai. He became its operations manager and as such was involved in or masterminded some of the most brutal terrorist attacks in Egypt. He became Egypt’s most wanted terrorist.
In September 2013, Ashmawi was part of a bomb attack that targeted the convoy of former Interior Minister Muhammed Ibrahim near his home in Nasr City, Cairo. Ibrahim survived, but more than 20 people were injured. In October 2013 he was involved in the attack on the military intelligence headquarters in Ismailiya, killing five soldiers and an officer who were riding in an open truck. In December 2013 he was involved in the bombing of the Security Headquarters of Daqahliya governorate where 16 people were killed, mostly policemen, while more than a hundred were injured.
Again, in January 2014 Ashmawy was involved in the bombing of Cairo Security Headquarters where at least five people were killed and 75 injured. The front of the multi-storey building was badly damaged, as were the neighboring buildings of the National Archives and the Museum of Islamic Art, whose collection was severely damaged. In July 2014 he was part of an attack on a military unit in Farafra oasis in the Western Desert. At least 21 Egyptian soldiers were killed. And in October of the same year he took part in an attack on the Armed Forces in Karm Al-Qawadis in Sinai, where 31 Egyptian Soldiers were killed.
In June 2015 Ashmawy was behind the assassination of Hisham Barakat, Egypt’s then prosecutor general. Five guards, two drivers and one civilian were injured during the attack.
In May 2017 he was involved in a savage gun attack on a convoy of Coptic pilgrims from Minya heading to the desert monastery of St Samuel the Confessor, killing 28 and injuring 22. In October 2017 he was involved in an attack on national security officers in Egypt’s Farafra oasis. Sixteen police officers were killed, 15 injured and one went missing, among the terrorists, 15 were killed or injured.
Ashmawi escaped Egypt to Derna, Libya, where he broke away from Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis and formed the Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Mourabitoun. He collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, led by Ahmed Abdul Jalil Al-Hasnawi, who leads the Al-Qaeda branch in southern Libya.
8 October 2018