Yassir al-Sirri

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Yasser Tawfiq Ali El-Sirri (ياسر توفيق علي السري) (kunya Abu Ammar) is an Egyptian militant connected to the Vanguards of Conquest and Jemaah Islamiyah, sentenced to death in the 1998 Returnees from Albania trial.[1][2]

Finding asylum in England, he became the director of the Islamic Information Centre.[3]

Early life[edit]

al-Sirri attended primary school in al-Mansurah from 1967–72, before going to school in Suez for the next ten years.[1] In 1982, he was given a dishonorable discharge from the Egyptian military after partaking in demonstrations against the government,[4] and attended the Institute for Social Services in Port Said for the next five years.[1] In 1984, he was jailed for three months for distributing pamphlets attacking Egyptian political leadership.[4]

He eventually began working for al-Hidaya al-Islamiyah which helped the families of those Islamists arrested by the government.[1]

He moved to Yemen in 1989, and subsequently to Sudan. He traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan three times, where he volunteered with charitable organisations helping the refugees from the Soviet war in Afghanistan from 1991-1992.[4]

Militant history[edit]

He was sentenced to death in absentia in 1993 or 1994, following the attempted assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Sedki which killed a 12-year old schoolgirl named Shaimaa.[3][4]

He fled to England in 1994 and was granted political asylum. He began producing the Islamic Media Monitor.[4] Following the 1997 Luxor massacre, Egypt issued a list of fourteen wanted Islamists, including el-Sirri.

On April 29 and October 23, 1999, he received telephone calls from Ahmed Abdel Sattar.[5] He was arrested in October 2001, charged with helping Sattar support Omar Abdel-Rahman, but the charges were dismissed seven months later.[6]

In 2005, he gave statements to the media alleging Hosni Mubarak had rigged the Egyptian elections, and encouraged citizens to boycott the election.[7]

On August 7, 2002, Egypt arrested both al-Sirri's brothers in Suez and held them in administrative detention. Yahya Tawfiq ‘Ali al-Sirri was a football trainer, and Muhammad Tawfiq ‘Ali al-Sirri was an engineer.[8] On October 1, 2003, his uncle Al-Sayid Muhammad Hassan ‘Abd al-Ghani was also arrested and became a ghost prisoner.[8]

In an interview which aired on Al-Hiwar TV on February 2, 2011 (as translated by MEMRI), Al-Sirri called for Egyptians to block international shipping through the Suez Canal in support of the revolution against Hosni Mubarak.[9]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Brachman, Jarret. "Global Jihadism", p. 166
  2. ^ Bodansky, Yossef. "Bin Laden", p. 293
  3. ^ a b Herald Journal, "Airstrike may have killed key militant: 1st reported death", October 19, 2001
  4. ^ a b c d e Al-Ahram, Egypt's Most Wanted
  5. ^ Library Information and Research Service, "The Middle East", 2008. p. 741
  6. ^ Anderson, Jon Lee. "The Lion's Grave", p. 194
  7. ^ Khaleej Times, Candidate woos others, and then votes for Hosni, September 13, 2005
  8. ^ a b Cageprisoners.com, Ghost: Al-Sayid Muahmmad Hassan 'Abd al-Ghani
  9. ^ Egypt Uprising: London-Based Egyptian Islamist Yasser Al-Sirri Calls to Block International Shipping in the Suez Canal and to Halt the Flow of Oil, MEMRI, February 2, 2011 Clip No. 2790.