Islamic State supporters vowed revenge when Egypt executed militant leader Adel Habara by hanging on Thursday.
Habara, who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, was convicted in 2014 for a 2013 ambush attack known as the “Second Rafah Massacre,” which killed 25 army conscripts in North Sinai, near the Israeli border. He was also under a death sentence for the murder of a policeman in the Nile Delta.
Egypt’s Court of Cassation rejected his final appeal over the weekend, citing his recorded admission of guilt, his active celebration of the victims’ deaths, his attempt to escape from custody in 2014, and the fact that his militant cell has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Egypt has been combating an insurgency in Northern Sinai led by the local ISIS franchise, known as Sinai Province. Most recently, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide-bomb attack against women and children at a chapel near St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo that claimed 25 lives and wounded at least 49 others.
Reuters reports that after Habara’s appeal was rejected on Saturday, an ISIS-linked account on the Telegram secure messaging platform issued a threat to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi: “To the tyrant Sisi, 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.”
Egyptian security forces in Northern Sinai reportedly went to high alert after Habara’s execution.