Family of Egyptian militant, Hesham Al-Ashmawy, say not notified about his reported execution

Family of Egyptian militant, Hesham Al-Ashmawy, say not notified about his reported execution
Hesham Al-Ashmawy, a former special forces officer-turned-insurgent, was reportedly executed on Monday.
2 min read
24 February, 2020
Ashmawy was a former special forces officer but was dismissed for radicalism [Twitter]
The family of one of Egypt's "most dangerous" Islamist militants said they have not been informed by authorities about his death, after local media reported that he was executed.

Hesham al-Ashmawy, a former amy offices, was convicted a few weeks ago by a military court of orchestrating several attacks on security forces in Egypt.

He was among 36 others who were sentenced to death after being found guilty of belonging to an Egyptian faction of the Islamic State group affiliate.

His family and his lawyer said on Monday that they had not been notified of his execution despite several media reports quoting security officials, according to Reuters.

The 33 convicted of the terror charges are among more than 200 defendants accused of carrying out more than 50 militant attacks on security forces, which include assassinations of high-ranking police officers and bombings that targeted the Egyptian capital's police headquarters.

Ashmawy - a former special forces officer-turned-insurgent who was dismissed for his radical views in 2012 - was captured in the eastern Libyan city of Derna in 2018 and transferred to Egyptian authorities by forces loyal to rogue Libyan General Khalifa Haftar.

Read more: Chaos by design: How a violent and lawless Sinai benefits Sisi

He was convicted on multiple charges according to Reuters, including plotting a 2014 ambush that killed 22 military guards near the Libyan border and involvement in the attempted assassination of a former interior minister in 2013.

For years, he was considered the country's most wanted militant due to his intelligence value. 

His military expertise - he left the Egyptian army in 2011 - was considered key to the faction's growth from a tiny band of militants into a well-organised insurgency group that inflicted painful blows on security forces in Sinai.

Ashmawy helped found Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, but left the group in 2015 shortly after the group pledged allegiance to IS.

He later announced the formation of Al-Mourabitoun, a militant group loyal to Al-Qaeda based in eastern Libya.

Al-Mourabitoun has been blamed for most of the attacks in Egypt's remote Western Desert, including the 2017 ambush that killed nearly 30 Christian pilgrims on their way to a monastery.

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis is now known as Wilayat Sinai, or the province of Sinai, as part of IS.

For years, Egypt has been fighting insurgents in the vast Western Desert and restive north Sinai, where Human Rights Watch has accused the military of committing war crimes.

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