We had the same requirement and we use Jira 7.2.8. Only the username can be added in the "Alert User" section. To alert the current assignee of the issue you can add an internal comment which will trigger an notification email to the assignee of the request.
Hope this helps.
If you spend enough time as a Jira admin - whether you are managing a single, mid-sized instance, a large enterprise one or juggling multiple instances at once - you will eventually find yourself in ...
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