Security forces in Libya have arrested one of Egypt’s most wanted jihadists, Hisham al-Ashmawy during an operation in the eastern port city of Darnah.
Hisham al-Ashmawy, a former army officer, is accused of being behind several deadly attacks in Egypt and had made an attempt against a top state official. He had a suicide vest strapped on, said the Libyan National Army, which controls much of eastern Libya.
“The terrorist Ashmawy was captured in the Al-Maghar neighbourhood in the city of Darnah and was wearing an explosive vest but was unable to detonate it,” the LNA said in a statement.
It said it would hand over the militant to Egyptian authorities after investigations have been concluded, Reuters news agency reports. Egypt has close relations with the LNA and has launched air strikes over Darnah, saying it was targeting jihadists linked to militant activity inside Egypt.
Egyptian officials say Ashmawy was behind the attempted assassination of the then Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim in May 2013, and the killing of the country’s top public prosecutor in a car bomb in 2015. They say he headed the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Islam militant group, after switching his allegiance away from the Islamic State group.