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Egypt hands death sentence to top aide of militant leader Hisham Ashmawi

An Egyptian court sentenced three persons to death, including the senior aide of Hisham Al-Ashmawy who was executed last year, after finding them guilty of terrorism charges over their alleged involvement in an Al-Qaeda affiliated militant group.

The court referred the sentence to the state’s top Islamic scholar, the Grand Mufti, and set 25 October for the confirmation of the sentences.

Ashmawy’s top aide, Bahaa Kishk, and the two other defendants are charged with leading Al-Mourabitoun militant group, which is based in Libya and is believed to be responsible for militant attacks against security forces in Egypt.

The charges also included “financing a terrorist group and supplying it with weapons, ammunition and explosives” as well as joining a militant group outside of Egypt.

The group’s founder, Al-Ashmawy, was hanged in March 2020 after an Egyptian military court sentenced him to death.

Al-Ashmawy was charged with involvement in a 2014 attack that killed 21 Egyptian Border Guard personnel at the checkpoint where they were stationed in Egypt’s western governorate of Wadi El-Gadid, near the country’s borders with Libya.

He was arrested in Libya and handed over to Egyptian authorities by forces loyal to Libya’s renegade General Khalifa Haftar. He had been an officer in the Egyptian army before he was expelled in 2012. He led the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis militant group in Egypt’s Sinai. When the group pledged allegiance to Daesh and renamed itself into Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) in 2014, Al-Ashmawi moved to Libya and joined the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar Al-Sharia. In 2015, Al-Ashmawi founded Al-Mourabitoun group.

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