Former Jihad chief in Egyptian custody

Yemen has reportedly handed over Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, the former head of the Egyptian armed group Jihad, to the Egyptian authorities.

    Imam al-Sharif was reportedly among six extradited to Cairo

    Al-Sharif was arrested in Yemen on 28 October 2001 and remained in a prison in Sanaa until he was handed over to Egypt on 28 February, his son Ismail al-Sharif told the Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat on Sunday. 

    His son said the speaker of the Yemeni parliament, Shaikh Abd Allah bin Husayn al-Ahmar, and tribal leaders "had tried to pressure the government to free his father", according to the London-based daily. 

    "These efforts failed and they were informed that al-Sharif's case was in the hands of the American ambassador in Yemen," he was quoted as saying. 

    The son said his father lived in Yemen from 1994 "after having
    broken all ties with religious organisations", according to
    al-Hayat. 

    Not confirmed

    The director of the London-based Islamic Observation Centre,
    Yasir al-Sirri, told AFP last month the former Jihad leader had been handed over to the Egyptian authorities. 

    Al-Sharif passed Jihad leadership
    to Ayman al-Zawahri (R) 

    Al-Sharif's handover was not immediately confirmed by Cairo. Al-Sirri said al-Sharif was among six Egyptians handed over by Yemen after Yemeni President Ali Abd Allah Salih's visit to Egypt in February. 

    Al-Sharif passed the Jihad leadership to Ayman al-Zawahri, the lieutenant of al-Qaida's leader Usama bin Ladin, amid dissent within the movement in 1991, to devote time to publishing and study, a Yemeni official said. 

    Ismail al-Sharif said his father was born in 1950 in the
    southern Egyptian town of Bani Swaif and earned a masters degree in medicine in 1974. 

    Wave of violence

    The Jihad leader left Egypt for the United Arab Emirates in 1982 before travelling to Saudi Arabia and then Pakistan, where he met Jihad and al-Qaida leaders, and finally moved to Sudan in 1993. 

    A row broke out between his father and other members of Jihad, including al-Zawahri whom he had known since the 1970s, over his "father's opposition to violent actions carried out in Egypt," the son told the daily. 

    Jihad and rival armed group Jamaa Islamiya launched a wave of violence against Egypt's secular government in 1992, a campaign they only abandoned at the end of the decade. 

    Nearly 1300 people died in the unrest, including policemen,
    government officials, foreign tourists and Egyptian Christians.

    SOURCE: AFP


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