Egypt sentences notorious militant Hisham Ashmawy to death

In this May 29, 2019 file frame grab from Egyptian State Television, a blindfolded Hisham el-Ashmawi, a prominent Egyptian militant is escorted by Egyptian military officers and placed in a vehicle after being taken off a military plane at an airport in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
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Updated 02 March 2020

Egypt sentences notorious militant Hisham Ashmawy to death

  • The Cairo criminal court condemned Hisham Ashmawy and 36 co-defendants to hang on 54 charges
  • The death sentences can be appealed

CAIRO: An Egyptian court Monday 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 Hisham Ashmawy 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.
Known locally as the “Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis,” after the militant outfit he led in the restive Sinai region, Ashmawy later broke with the group after it pledged allegiance to the Daesh group 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 militant group in Libya.
In October 2018, the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) captured Ashmawy in the eastern city of Derna and flew him back to Egypt last May.
Ashmawy — 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.
Egypt has for years been fighting a hardened insurgency in North Sinai that escalated after the army’s 2013 ouster of Islamist president Muhammad Mursi.
In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants focused on North Sinai.

Egypt sets virus vaccine target

Updated 16 min 35 sec ago

Egypt sets virus vaccine target

  • Volunteers will be closely monitored in order to take a second dose after 21 days

CAIRO: Assistant Health Minister and Coordinator of the Anti-COVID-19 Scientific Committee Ihab Kamal said that 842 people have volunteered in just one week to take part in Egypt’s coronavirus vaccine trials.

About 332 have been admitted in accordance with the health ministry’s requirements, which include being free from chronic disease.

Kamal said: “The number of volunteers until now is not low. We are working on raising the awareness of the citizens through various media platforms on the importance of the vaccine tests.” He added that the required number of volunteers is 6000.

He said the first two phases of the vaccine tests are complete and the third phase has begun. He added that volunteers are called for 21 days, pointing out that volunteers take a second dose in case they do not suffer any side effects. Kamal said the blood’s antibodies are measured throughout the year as part of the program.

Egyptian Minister of Health Hala Zayed announced on Thursday that she had launched the third and final phase of clinical trials on two vaccines developed by Egypt. She said the results of the two vaccine trials are positive so far.

Sources said that the Ministry of Health and the three centers taking part in the trials have received many applications. However, many of the applicants do not match the prerequisites, and therefore only 335 were accepted for the trials.

Zayed said in a press conference in Cairo that the current phase targets the participation of 6000 Egyptians. She said there are three places allocated for clinical trials.

Volunteers will be closely monitored in order to take a second dose after 21 days. After 45 days of the first dose, antibodies produced by the vaccine are measured to test their efficiency, Zayed said.

She said that national medical committees have been formed from civil and military bodies representing Egypt’s best medical experts.

She added that a committee will oversee conducting the clinical trials and that two vaccines out of seven have reached the third phase of clinical trials.

Zayed said that the first phase of the two vaccines included a test on a small group of 10 to 20 people with the aim of ensuring safety and also determining an appropriate dose. About 200 people took part in the second phase.

The third phase aimed included trials on 45,000 people from around the world, including 6,000 Egyptians.

The Ministry of Health and the company responsible for conducting the clinical trials explained the conditions that volunteers must follow to be eligible for tests.

They include an age bracket from 18 to 60 years old according to health condition. Registration must also be carried out using official documents. Volunteers must reside in Egypt or have valid residency documents during the trial period. Moreover, volunteers must sign an “informed consent” form prior to taking part in the trial.

There are a number of health conditions that prevent volunteers from taking part in the trials, including suffering from the symptoms of fever, dry cough, exhaustion and gonorrhea during the 14 days that precede the tests.