Mastermind of 1993 World Trade Centre bombing dies in detention, says son

An Egyptian girl holds a portrait of Omar Abdel Rahman during a sit-in to call for his release in front of the US Embassy in Cairo, on August 30, 2011. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Cairo Governorate, Egypt Feb 18, 2017, 06.22 PM (IST)

Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian jihadist spiritual leader linked to the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, died serving a life sentence in the United States on Saturday, his son told AFP.

Abdel Rahman, who led the militant Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya group in Egypt before immigrating to the United States, had been sentenced in 1996 for conspiring to bomb civilian targets in the country.

Seen as a jihadist spiritual leader, he had also been seen as inspiring the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre that killed six people.
"We have contacted the American and Egyptian authorities to repatriate" his body, his son Mohamed Omar told AFP.

Abdel Rahman, born in 1938, had become a cause celebre for jihadists and Islamists who demanded the blind and ailing militant's freedom.
Following his election victory in 2012, Egypt`s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi demanded at a rally the cleric's release.

Morsi was toppled by the military a year later.