The Libyan National Army (LNA) has handed over prominent terrorists Hesham Ashmawy to the Egyptian authorities, less than a year after capturing him during the battle of Derna.
Egyptian special forces escorted Ashmawy on his way, from the western Libyan city of Benghazi to Egypt’s capital, aboard a C-130 military plane. The terrorist arrived in Cairo late on May 28.
“Greetings and peace upon who were the shield in the time of defense and were the sword in the time of attack … The war against terrorism has not ended and will not end before we recover the right of every martyr, who lost his life for the homeland,” Egypt’s President wrote on Twitter welcoming the extradition of Ashmawy.
Ashmawy, a former special forces officer in the Egyptian Armed Forces, was dismissed from service in 2011 due to his growing radical views. He later joined the al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (ABM).
While serving as a military commander in the ABM, Ashmawy planned and executed the 2014 Farafra ambush, during which at least 22 Egyptian service members were killed.
A year after the ambush, Ashmawy cut its ties with the ABM, which bilged its allegiance to ISIS. Choosing to remain on the side of al-Qaeda, the infamous terrorist formed a new group called Al-Mourabitoun between Libya and Egypt.
Al-Mourabitoun is believed to be responsible for assassination of Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat in July of 2015. The successful operation granted Ashmawy the first place on Egypt’s most wanted terrorists list.
On October 8 of 2018, Ahmed al-Mesmari, spokesman for the LNA, announced the capturing of Ashmawy during a special operation by a unit of the 106th Mujahfal Brigade in the mountainous al-Maghar district of Derna.
LNA Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, personally handed over Ashmawy to General Mustafa Kamel, head of Egypt’s General Intelligence, during a meeting in Bangahzi on May 28. The extradition of the terrorist reflects the strong relations between the LNA and Egypt.