Egypt arrests militant linked to string of attacks

Police arrested one of Egypt’s most wanted Islamist militants as he arrived back in the country on Sunday following an order to leave Iran, airport security sources and state media said.

Mohamed Shawqi el-Islambuli, brother of Khalid el-Islambuli who killed former President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981, was sentenced to death in absentia in 1992 for plotting from abroad to overthrow the state.

He was sentenced again in 1999 in a landmark trial of more than 100 suspected members of the Gama’a al-Islamiya movement blamed for a massacre of tourists in the southern city of Luxor, an embassy bombing in Pakistan and a series of killings and assassination attempts including one against Sadat’s successor Hosni Mubarak.

Unconfirmed media reports later that year said Islambuli had retired from the group, leading some experts on Islamic militancy to suspect divisions among Gama’a al-Islamiya members over whether to renounce violence.

The group’s leadership said later it had turned its back on violence and would support a civil constitution for Egypt with an Islamic reference.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, sentenced in absentia at the same trial, said in 2006 that Islambuli had joined al-Qaeda along with other members of the movement.

Islambuli arrived from Iran via Dubai, was arrested soon after his plane landed and handed over to criminal investigators for presentation before a military prosecutor, the airport sources said.

State news agency MENA said he would be transferred to a Cairo prison to await a date for a retrial as required in cases of sentencing in absentia.

Islambuli’s lawyer, Nizar Ghorab, said his client was severely ill and he had demanded he be transferred to hospital.

He said Islambuli should be treated in the same hospital ward as the ailing Mubarak, who was ousted by a popular uprising on February 11, “to respect the principle of equal treatment.”

Islambuli returned after Iran’s government told him he must leave the country and could travel either to Egypt or Pakistan. After failed attempts to enter Pakistan and Turkey, he boarded a plane to return to Egypt, said Ghorab.

Egypt’s ties with Iran have been improving since Mubarak was toppled from power. — Reuters

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Noxy Goyi’s story of survival is one of a woman’s...

The breadwinner lost her job and, desperate not to sit at home, she started selling food on the street on a table made of bread crates. Now she employs two people

Three ‘gringos’ brave heat, mosquitos, illegal gold miners and pirates...

A Wits University accounting professor has returned from his Amazon expedition he undertook to fight climate change

Fintech firms ramp up investments in Kenya’s microfinance space

Kenya’s microfinance banks are the target of fintech firms from abroad seeking to sidestep stringent regulatory perimeters for digital lenders

Harbour views at 9th Avenue Waterside

The award-winning eatery, which offers fine wines and food, is on stilts at Durban’s harbour
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×