Egypt executes long-detained Islamist militant Adel Habara

Egypt executes long-detained Islamist militant Adel Habara
Egyptian authorities have carried out a death sentence issued against IS militant Adel Habara, who was convicted of an attack on security forces in 2013.
2 min read
16 December, 2016
Habara was convicted of involvement in a 2013 attack on police in Sinai [Anadolu]

Egyptian authorities on Thursday executed a jihadist convicted of involvement in a 2013 gun attack on police in the Sinai Peninsula, state media reported.

Adel Habara, whose death warrant was ratified by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday night, was hanged in a Cairo prison days after a court upheld his death sentence.

He was convicted of involvement in a shooting that killed 25 policemen, days after police killed hundreds of demonstrators in Cairo protesting against the army's overthrow and detention of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

A copy of the court's decision published by state-run daily al-Ahram said that authorised recordings of Habara’s phone calls revealed that he formed a cell that later pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS).

The court said Habara not only admitted in those recordings that he killed the police conscripts, but also "rejoiced their murder," al-Ahram reported.

The 40-year-old also faced a second death sentence, upheld by the same court on Monday, after he was found guilty of killing a policeman in the town of Abu Kabir, in the Nile Delta Governorate of Sharqiya.

His execution came days after the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a deadly Cairo church bombing that sparked renewed calls for speedier punishment of Islamist militants.

IS is waging an insurgency in Sinai that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since Morsi's overthrow.

Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of Islamists to death in the past three years, but many, including Morsi, have appealed and won retrials, frustrating government hardliners.

Habara had become a symbol for them of a slow appeals process. He had been sentenced to death in an initial trial but was granted a retrial on appeal.

Sisi, who toppled Morsi when army chief, had ordered changes to the law to speed up the judicial process after a car bomb killed the country's top prosecutor in 2015.

Habara is the eighth convicted militant whose execution has been announced since Morsi's overthrow.

Agencies contributed to this report.