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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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Tunisia President Saied dares opposition, defends new constitution despite criticism

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Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has defended his proposed new constitution despite widespread criticism and protest by opposition figures, saying the the constitution when passed, would not restore authoritarian rule.

Most political parties and civil society groups have continued to oppose the constitution saying it was drawn up unilaterally by Saied’s allies whom he handpicked to do his bidding.

The critics have also questioned the legitimacy of the constitution with a referendum set for July 25 which they say would give Tunisians less than four weeks to decide on it with no minimum rate of participation for it to pass.

The head of the committee that prepared the first draft the constitution, Sadok Belaid, also criticised the version which Saied rewrote, saying the president’s version was “dangerous and paves the way for a disgraceful dictatorial regime.”

But while hitting back at the opposition and the wave of criticism that followed the publication of the draft in the Tunisian National Gazzete, Saied on Tuesday, urged the people to support it in the referendum to adopt the constitution.

In a letter addressed to Tunisian and published by state, Saied assured that fears by those against the new constitution are misplaced as there was no danger to Tunisians’ rights and freedoms.

“Everyone knows what Tunisia has suffered for decades, especially the last decade. They emptied state coffers. The poor got poorer, the corrupt got richer,” Said narrated, while accusing critics of the constitution of “slanders, far from reality”.

Saied entered the bad books of most opposition figures in the North African country when he ousted the elected parliament and set out to rule by decree which many had termed a coup.

He further angered many by dissolving the electoral commission and named a new body with himself as the head. Not done, Saied also sacked 57 judges last month, accusing them of supporting Islamists.

But his supporters say he is “standing up to elite forces whose bungling and corruption have condemned Tunisia to a decade of political paralysis and economic stagnation.”

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Sudan’s junta leader, General al-Burhan, promises to withdraw army from civilian government

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Leader of Sudan’s military junta, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has promised he will withdraw the army from further participating in political discussions aimed at ushering in a transitional civilian government.

General al-Burhan made the promise on Monday following another week of violent anti-coup protests in the capital Khartoum and other major cities which led to the killing of over 10 protesters by overzealous security forces loyal to the military government.

The protests have become an almost weekly event since Gen al-Burhan staged a coup that ousted the civilian-led transitional government that followed the overthrow of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 was itself removed by a military coup in October 2021, and over 100 youths have been killed while several opposition figures have been arrested and clamped in detention.

But following last Thursday violence, which also saw at least 629 injured by security forces crackdown on the demonstrations and the worldwide condemnation that accompanied it, Gen. al-Burhan was forced to react by vowing to withdraw the army from government.

“The armed forces will not stand in the way of democratic transition or interfere in elections in which the Sudanese people choose who will govern them,” al-Burhan said in a televised address, while also affirming the military’s commitment to working towards a seamless transition to democracy.

Al-Burhan added that a new ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would be created after the formation of the government and it will only be responsible for security and defence tasks and “related responsibilities” in agreement with the government.

The army’s withdrawal from the political talks is aimed at allowing the political groups to form the technocrat government, he said.

However, pro-democracy groups and the protest leaders are sceptical about al-Burhan keeping true to his promise, as they have repeatedly said they will not negotiate with the military, and have called for them to immediately hand the reins to a civilian government.

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