Iran denies returning Egyptian militant

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Reuters: Iran denied on Monday it had handed over to Egypt prominent militant Mustafa Hamza, leader of the Gama’a al-Islamiya group that tried to overthrow the Egyptian government in the 1990s. Hani el-Sibai, head of Egypt’s Maqrizi Centre for Historical Studies, told Reuters on Sunday Tehran handed
over Hamza to Cairo in October in exchange for information about members of an Iranian exiled group living in Egypt.
Reuters

TEHRAN – Iran denied on Monday it had handed over to Egypt prominent militant Mustafa Hamza, leader of the Gama’a al-Islamiya group that tried to overthrow the Egyptian government in the 1990s.

Hani el-Sibai, head of Egypt’s Maqrizi Centre for Historical Studies, told Reuters on Sunday Tehran handed over Hamza to Cairo in October in exchange for information about members of an Iranian exiled group living in Egypt.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the report was “baseless”.

“Hamza has never been in Iran and we have not returned him to Egypt,” Asefi said. “The report has no truth in it.”

Hamza, 48, also known as Abu Hazim, is now in an Egyptian jail, where he faces three death sentences, including one for planning to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in 1995, Sibai said.

Tehran broke off ties with Cairo after the 1979 Islamic revolution, in response to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and decision to let Iran’s deposed shah live out his days in Egypt.

The two Muslim countries have said they are moving closer to resuming diplomatic ties but Iran has yet to change a Tehran street name which honoured the assassin of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.