Jama’a al-Islamiya leader arrested at Cairo airport

A fugitive leader of Jama'a al-Islamiya was arrested at Cairo airport Thursday morning as he was returning home after 25 years spent living abroad, mostly in Yemen.

Mortada Mohamed Khalifa, also known as Abu Aasha, a senior leader of the group until the 1980s, was sentenced after he left the country by the Assiut Criminal Court to five years in prison in absentia for setting fire to video stores.

Security authorities at the airport arrested him for retrial, security sources told the German news agency DPA.

Cairo International Airport sources said they discovered Khalifa, 55, and his son while checking the passports of passengers arriving on a flight from the Yemeni capital of Sana.
The sources said Khalifa voluntarily surrendered himself to airport security. He was handed over to the Public Security Department, which will in turn transfer him to the Assiut public prosecutor to set a date for his criminal trial.

Khalifa's son was allowed to leave the airport.
Born in Assiut, Khalifa had been accused of taking part in the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat, but was acquitted in court.

After leaving Egypt, Khalifa lived in several countries, including Saudi Arabia.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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