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Confessions of young Egyptian:

'How I was recruited to join Ansar Al- Sharia in Derna, Libya'

Thursday 01-06-2017 - 07:49 PM
'How I was recruited
Tripoli - Press office of Shock Battalion 21 in Libya published a video on the interrogation of a young Egyptian man named Mahmoud, confessed committing crimes under a terrorist group guidance. 
He was a student at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Mahmoud was videotaped after his arrest in Libya recently where he was fighting under the terrorist group of Ansar Al Sharia (Supporters of Sharia) in Derna.

During the interrogation conducted by General Gamal El Zahawi, commander of the battalion, the young man said that he was recruited in December 2011 in Tahrir Square in Cairo, a place that witnessed the revolution of 25th of January 2011 against Hosni Mubarak the Egyptian president then. He met other extremists there, when they discussed the ideology of radical groups and the concept of Jihad in Islam. 

Talaat suggested he joins Ansar Beit al Maqdis (Supporters of Jerusalem) group in the turbulent Sinai peninsula.  He gave him a CD containing footage of terrorist attacks in the region, mainly by radical groups in Gaza and Sinai. 
The Sinai insurgency is an ongoing conflict between Islamist militants and Egyptian security forces since 2011. The group 'Ansar Beit al Maqdis' emerged from a number of indigenous Salafi jihadist groups in Sinai. Some of these groups had ties to Salafi jihadis in Gaza or leaders that had previously fought abroad, including with al-Qaeda. He told Mahmoud they want him to conduct similart attacks in Sinai, but, soon after, 16 Egyptian soldiers were assassinated in Sinai in 2012 which drove Egyptian security forces to intensify its presence there. Thus, it was difficult for Mahmoud to proceed in his plans in Sinai

This prompted Talaat to redirect Mahmoud’s efforts to Syria, which was another attraction point for jihadi elements at this point of time, and asked him to obtain a travel permit which the military service  in Egypt refused to grant him since Mahmoud was still a student. Travel permits are only granted in special cases like going to the pilgrimage or with the permission of the parents. 

Training camps of Derna

Screen Shot 2015-04-09
Screen Shot 2015-04-09 (Ansar al-Sharia propaganda on social media)
Later, Talaat suggested that Mahmoud travels to the neighbouring Libya and arrange his travel to Syria from there.  They entered Libya illegally and went to Derna (the port city in eastern Libya) to work in construction of a makeshift mosque that was actually a meeting point for jihadists who were recruited from everywhere around the world to prepare them for travel to Syria, Mali or to remain in Libya to fight alongside Ansar Al Sharia.
Ansar al-Sharia in Libya was a Salafist Islamist militia group that advocated the implementation of strict Sharia law across Libya. Ansar al-Sharia came into being in 2011, during the Libyan Civil War. Until January 2015, it was led by its "Amir", Muhammad al-Zahawi.

Mahmoud mentioned a number of names in charge of supervising the travel of jihadists to locations of war, but they were all first names (Hussein, Ammar, Hisham, Nezar, Mohamed).  After leaving the mosque, Mahmoud went to Benghazi (Eastern Libya) along with four other Egyptians.

He said that his poor health and weak stature will prevent terrorist leaders in Benghazi from accepting his travel to Syria so he returned to Derna once more then to Sirte (It is on the south coast of the Gulf of Sidra. Sirte lies halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi.) where he was trained on electronic communication by someone called Belal El Tonsy.   Mahmoud pointed out that Ansar Al Sharia in Libya performed several terrorist operations in neighboring countries like Algeria and sent weapons to Syria, Mali and the Gaza strip.

He mentioned that the group focused on targeting local and regional locations and that it aimed at taking control of Benghazi.  He added that of the leaders of Ansar Al Sharia in Libya are Mohamed El Zahawi (the leader), Fawzi al Mosheity, Saleh al Akoury and another called Saad
According to his confessions, the group's leaders in Derna are Salem Abou Nokta, Mohamed al Showihdi and another called Nezar, assuring that the training camps allocated for Egyptians in Derna are in the areas of al Fataeh, al Wadi al Ahmar and al Makbara al Gedida.  

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