Egypt extremist returned from Libya back on trial, says a report

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An Egyptian extremist captured in Libya and returned to Cairo was put on trial again on Tuesday over five terror attacks, including one for which he has already received a death sentence in absentia, according to local media.

Hisham el-Ashmawy - one of the country’s most-wanted militants - “is accused of carrying out terror operations against the army, police forces and civilians” killing 54 people in total, news website Ahram reported.

His retrial was being held in a military court, the site said.

He was sentenced to death in 2017 in absentia by an Egyptian military court over his involvement in attacking and killing soldiers at a checkpoint near the porous border with Libya.

Authorities have also linked el-Ashmawy with high-profile attacks including a 2013 assassination attempt on then-interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim and the 2015 killing of a top public prosecutor.

The extremist was flown back to Cairo in May, after being handed over by Libyan National Army chief Khalifa Haftar whose forces captured him in 2018 in the eastern city of Derna.

A former officer with Egypt’s special forces, el-Ashmawy was dismissed in 2012 over concerns about his religious views.

He joined the Sinai-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis but broke with the group after it pledged allegiance to ISIS extremist group in November 2014.

El-Ashmawy announced the formation of an al-Qaeda-aligned militant group al-Mourabitoun in Libya in July 2015.

He is also accused of being behind attacks in Egypt’s Western Desert region.

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