ISIS Vows 'Jihad Volcano' After Islamist Fighter Executed in Egypt

Islamist fighter Adel Habara was sentenced to death for the 2013 killing of 25 army conscripts in the Sinai peninsula.

A woman holds a paper with Arabic that reads, "hold your martyr high," during a vigil for victims of a Sunday bombing at a Coptic cathedral, in downtown Cairo, Egypt, December 14, 2016.
A woman holds a paper with Arabic that reads, "hold your martyr high," during a vigil for victims of a Sunday bombing at a Coptic cathedral, in downtown Cairo, Egypt, December 14, 2016. Credit: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Egypt executed prominent Islamist fighter Adel Habara on Thursday, state media said, days after a top court rejected his final appeal and in defiance of militant threats to ignite "a volcano of jihad" across the country.

Habara, 40, was sentenced to death in 2014 for killing 25 army conscripts in North Sinai in August 2013. He was hanged early on Thursday after President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi signed off on the death sentence, state news agency MENA said.

Sissi has launched a fierce crackdown on Islamists since, as Egypt's then-military chief, he overthrew the country's democratically elected president, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July 2013.

He is battling a raging insurgency in North Sinai, led by Sinai Province, the Egyptian affiliate of ISIS. The militant group has killed hundreds of soldiers and police in regular attacks that have intensified since Sissi took power.

After Habara's appeal was rejected by the Court of Cassation on Saturday, ISIS supporters issued warnings to Sissi online not to carry out the execution.

"To the tyrant Sissi, if you dare to execute Sheikh Adel Habara then, by God, you will have ignited a volcano of jihad all over the country and opened the doors of hell on your soldiers and dogs and institutions," read a message on the Lone Wolves account run by ISIS supporters on Telegram.

Though ISIS attacks have largely been focused on security forces in its stronghold of Northern Sinai, a strategic area bordering Israel, Gaza and the Suez Canal, the group has also launched deadly attacks in Cairo.

ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the country's main cathedral that killed 25 people on Sunday.

It also said it had brought down a Russian airliner last year, in an attack that killed 224 people and dealt a blow to the tourism sector, by planting a bomb in a soft-drink can.

MENA said Habara had been taken from his cell at the maximum security Aqrab, or Scorpion, jail in Cairo to the Court of Cassation, where he was hanged in the presence of judicial officials.

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