FILE - Al-Qaeda Judge in Libya Omar Refaei Sorour
CAIRO – 8 October 2018: Libyan security forces revealed Monday that Omar Refaei Sorour’s wife was arrested and she affirmed his death at the beginning of the liberation operations in Derna, according to a statement released by Libyan security forces.
The Libyan National Army, led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, launched a military operation against terrorists and militants in Al-Qaeda hideouts in Derna in April. Previously, the army announced that it restored most of the eastern city from the terrorists, AP reported.
Sorour was the Mufti of the Shura Council of Mujahideen in Derna (DMSC), a group of militants who call for applying the Islamic Sharia in the city of Derna.
Sorour was also responsible for a number of terrorist attacks inside the Egyptian territories. In the investigations conducted with, Abdel Rahim Mohamed Abdullah al-Mismary, the only militant captured in a security raid against terrorists in Egypt’s Western Desert, Mismary talked about Sorour’s role in the council.
Mismary confessed that DMSC saw a state of division among its members as some of them wanted to join the Islamic State (IS) militant group but the disagreement ended when Sorour issued a fatwa stipulating that they should not join the IS.
It was reported by Libyan security forces in April that Sorour was missing; however, a Libyan military source told Egypt Today on May 20 that he reappeared in Derna with Abu Sufian bin Qumu, the religious reference of all terrorist groups in the eastern city of Derna, adding that Sorour was seen injured in a field hospital.
In Sorour’s point of view, all Arab and Muslim leaders are “tyrants” according to several fatwas issued by him. He is responsible for recruiting and training Arab youth members and luring them to join terrorist groups in Syria, Libya and Egypt.
Sorour and Hisham al-Ashmawy are involved in several terrorist acts, most notably the Farafra attack that claimed the lives of 15 Egyptian soldiers in a 2014 Ramadan night. Sorour was a member in Hazemoun movement, an Islamist organization that supported Salafist lawyer Hazem Salah Abu Ismail as a presidential candidate in 2012. Sorour fled to Derna in 2013 following the June 30 Revolution.
In 2016, media reports revealed that ISIS leaders in Libya had issued a fatwa to kill Sorour, considering him a traitor after preferring to join Al-Qaeda to ISIS.
Sorour did not hide his hostility to ISIS leaders, as he slammed them for killing innocent people in Derna and described them on his Twitter account as “tyrannical aggressors”.
In 2017, world-wide media reports revealed that Sorour is believed to be a liaison between Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawahry and Algerian terrorist Mokhtar Bel-Mokhtar.
Sorour was born in 1970. His father, Sheikh Refaei, was the godfather of most of militant groups in Egypt and a close friend of Al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri. Sheikh Refaei was an influential leader of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group and belonged to the Qubtist wing within the outlawed MB.
Additional reporting by Kamel Kamel, Nawal Sayed and Ahmed Gomaa