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Egypt’s most wanted terrorist nabbed in Libya. All you want to know and why he may face extradition

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The Egyptian Authorities have asked Libya to extradite the most wanted terrorist Hisham Ashmawy to stand for trial, Al-Arabiya T.V. reported on Monday.

Former Egyptian Commandos officer, who was terminated after being involved in several terrorist attacks, Hesham Ashmawy, was arrested on Monday, October 8 in Derna, Libya.

A statement released by Libyan security forces affirmed that Ashmawy was arrested alive.

Ashmawi or Abu Omar al-Muhajir is a former officer in the Egyptian Commandos; he received advanced training on special operation tasks in the United States’main training institutes.

Ashmawi turned militant and became the operations engineer of the country’s most active jihadist group, AnsarBeit Al-Maqdis(ABM), and in charge of the most important qualitative operations carried out in Sinai, Cairo and Al-Farafra oasis to deserve the title of the most dangerous wanted person in Egypt.

Ashmawy was born in 1978, and graduated in 2000 from the military academy, where he was a distinguished officer and joined the Special Forces Unit. He served in Sinai for 10 years and witnessed the bombings of Taba, Sharm El-Sheikh and Dahab.

The turning point in Ashmawy’s life was in 2005 when his father, Ali Ashmawy, passed away, which affected Ashmawy’s physiological health.

During this period terrorist groups started to attract and recruit young people in mosques, and Ashmawy started to attend their sessions. The Armed Forces warned Ashmawy for the first time in 2006 and he was interrogated, but he confirmed his commitment to the military principles.

However, Ashmawy continued to promote for political Islam through spreading banned books.

In 2007, a military court transferred Ashmawy to an administrative post and then referred him to retirement in 2009. He was completely expelled from the army in 2012 as he travelled to Syria twice through Turkey.

In 2013, Ashmawy moved to Sinai where he became in charge of the military wing of AnsarBeitAl-Maqdis. He started to develop the performance of the group and improve their militancy skills.

After June 30 revolution, he participated in the Raba’a sit-in where he recruited a large number of youth to implement terrorist operations against the Egyptian army and police.

A year later, Ashmawy emerged as a key operative, heading a cell that taught fighters how to carry out suicide bombing missions, assemble roadside bombs and shoot soldiers.

Since the failed assassination attempt of former Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim in May 2013, Ashmawy was linked to a large number of terrorist attacks that were carried out by AnsarBeitAl-Maqdis, whether through planning or implementation.

Read also: Rwanda frees jailed opposition leader Ingabire

The most prominent operations conducted by Ashmawy included the attack on the military intelligence headquarters in Ismailia in October 2013, the bombing of the Security Directorate of Al-Dakahlia in December 2013, the bombing of Cairo Security Directorate in January 2014, the attack on a military unit in Farafra oasis in the Western Desert in July 2014, and the attack on the Armed Forces in Karm Al-Qawadis inSinai in October 2014.

Ashmawy was injured during the Farafra operation and was transported to Libya where he received treatment, as he has close relations with Al-Qaeda-affiliate Ansar Al-Sharia in Derna, Libya.

In July 2015, Ashmawy announced in a statement that he became the emir of Al-Murabitun group, stressing his affiliation to Al-Qeada, which is another turning point in Ashmawy’s life.

After AnsarBeit Al-Maqdis announced in November 2014 its allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), Ashmawy refused to pledge allegiance to ISIS. He remained loyal to Al-Qaeda which cut off its supply to the Egyptian group. In response, Al-Qaeda provided Ashmawy with weapons and training camps in Libya as a prelude to carry out more operations in Egypt.

After the split, Ashmawy was accused of carrying out a number of terrorist attacks, most prominentlythe assassination of Public Prosecutor HishamBarakat in July 2015.

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South Africa wants Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories declared illegal

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South Africa is back at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Israel’s role in the ongoing Hamas war. On Tuesday, Johannesburg asked the World Court to issue a non-binding legal opinion that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal.

South Africa argued that the proclamation would help efforts to reach a settlement as its representative opened the second day of hearings at the court in the Hague.

Vusimuzi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands told the judges that “a clear legal characterization of the nature of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people can only assist in remedying the ongoing delay and achieving a just settlement.”

Palestinian delegates asked the U.N.’s top court on Monday to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal, adding that the advisory opinion of the court might help bring about a durable peace and a two-state solution.

Israel sent a written statement claiming that an advisory opinion would be detrimental to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, despite not being present at the hearings.

The most recent wave of violence in Gaza, which was sparked by Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7, has exacerbated the region’s long-standing grievances and harmed attempts to find a peaceful solution.

The ICJ’s fifteen-member panel was tasked with “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

It is anticipated that the judges will take about half a year to respond to the request, which also asks them to evaluate the implications of the occupation’s legal standing.

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Tunisia: Jailed opposition leader Ghannouchi begins hunger strike

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Embattled Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who has been a political prisoner since April, has begun a hunger strike in support of other opposition activists who are fasting in protest and calling for their immediate release.

Ghannouchi had threatened to go on a hunger strike in September, and a group of opposition lawyers representing him confirmed the strike had finally begun on Monday.

The 82-year  the leader of the main opposition group Ennahda and a ferocious opponent of President Kais Saied, was imprisoned last year on allegations of inciting violence against law enforcement and scheming to undermine national security.

In a different case earlier this month, a judge found him guilty of taking outside funding and sentenced him to three years in prison.

The lawyers said in a statement that “While he is fighting the ’empty stomach’ battle, Ghannouchi calls on Tunisians to adhere to a democratic Tunisia that includes everyone on the basis of freedom … and the independence of the judiciary.”

An indefinite hunger strike was launched this week by six opposition leaders who were detained during a crackdown last year in protest of their detention without charge or trial and in demand of their prompt release. The jailed leaders, Jawher Ben Mbarak, Rida Belhaj, Abdelhamid Jalasi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Issam Chabbi, and Khayam Turki, were taken into custody on charges of allegedly arranging an attack on state security.

President Saied has been adamant about suppressing dissenting opinions in the nation ever since taking office. In 2023, over 20 political figures were detained, including Ghannouchi, on suspicion of trying to compromise national security.

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