CAIRO – As a special forces officer in the Egyptian Army, Hisham al-Ashmawy trained in the desert, learning camouflage, survival techniques and how to hunt the enemy in rough terrain. Now he has turned militant and uses that training to help fellow jihadis fight the government.
Ashmawy’s background makes him a potent figure among Islamist fighters, who President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi say pose an existential threat to Egypt. “Ashmawy is the most dangerous terrorist we face,” an Egyptian National Security official said. “He is the mastermind and executor.”