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Egypt released senior Daesh leader behind major attack in Sinai: Report

This screen grab from Facebook shows Mohammad Saad Kamel, known by the nom de guerre of Abu Hamza al-Qadi, who was once a senior commander of Islamic State terrorist group’s regional branch in northern Egypt. (Photo from Middle East Eye)

A senior commander of the Daesh terrorist group’s regional branch in northern Egypt who played a key role in large-scale killings of civilians in terrorist attacks was released by the Egyptian government some three years ago, a report shows.

The report published on Thursday by the Middle East Eye showed that Mohammad Saad Kamel, known by the nom de guerre of Abu Hamza al-Qadi, has been living freely with his wife and three children in Ismailia in northern Egypt since he was granted amnesty by the Egyptian government in 2021.

The report cited a statement from Sinai Foundation for Human Rights (SFHR) showing that Qadi was once the third in command of the Sinai Province, a branch of Daesh operating in northern Egypt, adding that he was the group’s “mufti” and “chief judge” between 2016 and 2021.

In fact, as the head of Sharia court of the Sinai Province, Qadi authorized the 2017 attack on a mosque in North Sinai which killed more than 305 worshipers.

The SFHR said, however, that the former Daesh commander has been granted amnesty, a home and a monthly salary by the Egyptian government since he turned himself in in 2021.

"Aِِl-Qadi’s fatwas laid the groundwork for an unprecedented bloody phase against civilians in Sinai,” said the group.

However, an Egyptian military source told the Middle East Eye that all "terror suspects who surrender themselves to military forces and cooperate peacefully are treated in a decent way”.

That comes as Egypt has been tough on political activism and dissent in recent years, putting behind bars tens of thousands of people who have opposed the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The SFHR said Egyptian citizens have a right to clearly know what criteria is used by their government to grant amnesty to individuals suspected of committing mass murder while at the same time keeping people behind bars for activism on social media or simply for protesting.

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