Cairo – Egyptian authorities executed a death sentence against Abel Habara, the leader of the ISIS-affiliated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) group, for his role in the “Second Rafah Massacre” that killed 25 soldiers in an ambush in North Sinai in August 2013.
Habara was executed after Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ratified the death warrant according to the law.
Earlier, Habara was taken from his cell at the secured Scorpion jail in Cairo to the Court of Cassation. Habara was hanged in the presence of judicial officials.
However, Egyptian authorities fear a wave of revenge threats could ignite in retaliation of Habara’s execution.
Mohammed Noureddine, the former assistant to the minister of interior told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Executing the death penalty should eventually be followed by strict security measures and preventive strikes against the organization in north Sinai, to prevent the organization or the family of the terrorist from launching any terrorist acts.”
A security source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Egypt placed a high-alert security status in all establishments, particularly following last week’s explosion that targeted a chapel linked to the Coptic Christian cathedral, leaving several people killed and at least 49 injured, mostly women and children.
Habara received several death penalties in different cases. The most prominent case is related to the “second Rafah massacre” of 2013, when Habara was involved in the killing of 25 police recruits in an ambush on a police convoy in the Abu Tawila region.
In June 2014, Habara attempted to escape detention while in a transportation vehicle from the police academy to prison.
Separately, Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation announced on Thursday that traces of explosives were found on the remains of the victims of the EgyptAir MS804 plane that crashed on May 19, killing the 66 passengers on board.
A forensic investigation conducted in Egypt issued a report on Thursday concerning the victims of the plane crash. It said traces of explosives were found on some of the victims’ body parts. Some officials considered the report an important sign that could uncover the mystery surrounding the causes which made the plane plunge into the Mediterranean Sea.