Benghazi – Eastern Libyan forces on Monday captured a former Egyptian special forces officer wanted by Cairo for suspected Islamist militant activities, a Libyan military spokesman said.
“Hisham al-Ashmawy, one of Egypt’s most wanted men, was apprehended in Derna where eastern Libyan forces are fighting jihadists,.
“Ashmawy will be probably handed over to neighboring Egypt after Libyan security officials have completed an investigation,’’ Ahmed Mismari, spokesman of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which controls Libya’s east said.
The LNA published a picture of Ashmawy with blood on his face.
Egyptian authorities said that Ashmawy heads the Ansar al-Islam network, which claimed responsibility for a deadly desert ambush laid against Egyptian police in October 2017.
Egyptian officials also accuse the network, which they link to al-Qaeda, of an assassination attempt on a former interior minister in 2013.
According to Egyptian intelligence and security sources, “Ashmawy’s network has mounted a recruiting campaign among former officers in recent years and is seen as more dangerous than militants operating in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.”