Trump Succeeds Where Obama Failed for Years
A U.S. charity worker, and others, returned home after President Trump and aides quietly worked to secure their release from an Egyptian jail after nearly three years.
Aya Hijazi, a U.S. citizen, her Egyptian husband, Mohamed Hassanein, and four other humanitarian workers were freed after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiation by the Trump administration.
Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House early this month.
The Post reports that Defense Secretary James Mattis and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell met with al-Sisi this week to arrange the prisoners’ release. As Mattis traveled on to Israel, Powell and military aide Air Force Maj. Wes Spurlock accompanied Hijazi, Hassanein and their family.A U.S. government aircraft brought the group to the U.S. late Thursday night.
Hijazi and her brother, Basel, are set to visit the White House to meet with Trump, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, a senior administration official told the Post.
“We’re very grateful that President Trump personally engaged with the issue. Working closely with the Trump administration was very important for my family at this critical time. It let us be reunited as a family. We’re so grateful,” Basel Hijazi said in a mid-flight phone interview with the Post Thursday.
Hijazi became an internationally recognized symbol of Egypt’s growing oppression. On May 1, 2014, Hijazi and her companions were imprisoned on human trafficking charges that were widely dismissed by the international community.
Egypt dropped all charges against the group last Sunday.
Originally from Falls Church, Va., Hijazi was working in Cairo with the Belady Foundation. The Obama administration previously lobbied the Egyptian government for her release, but was unsuccessful.
By John Bowden