An Egyptian court Monday (March 2nd) sentenced to death an ex-special forces officer turned Islamist militant and 36 other extremists over several terror attacks, including an assassination bid on a former interior minister.
The Cairo criminal court condemned Hesham Ashmawi and 36 co-defendants to hang on 54 charges, such as leading a terror group and targeting then-interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim in a 2013 suicide car bombing, a judicial source told AFP.
Ibrahim survived the bombing near his Cairo home but some 20 policemen and civilians were wounded.
The death sentences can be appealed.
Ashmawi -- dubbed Egypt's "most wanted man" in local media -- was an officer with Egypt's special forces but discharged in 2012 over extremist religious views.
He joined Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, based in the Sinai peninsula, but broke off after the group pledged allegiance to the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in November 2014.
He was already sentenced to death in November by a military court over his role in 14 attacks, including the 2014 killing of 22 soldiers at a border post with Libya.
Other charges against him included forming an al-Qaeda-aligned group, al-Mourabitoun in Libya, in July 2015.
In October 2018, the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) captured Ashmawi in the eastern city of Derna and flew him back to Egypt last May.
Egypt has for years been fighting a hardened insurgency in North Sinai.
In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants focused on North Sinai.