Egyptian security forces kill leader of group behind Sinai bombings
Egyptian security forces on Tuesday killed the leader of an Islamist group wanted for the attacks last month in a Sinai beach resort town that killed 21 people, officials said.
Nasser Khamis el-Mallahi, leader of the "Tawheed (Monotheism) and Jihad" group was shot dead in a battle with police in an olive grove in el-Karama district, south of El-Arish, said Lt. Gen. Essam el-Sheik, commander of the North Sinai security police.
According to the AP, anti-terrorist squads surrounded the grove after receiving a tip that el-Mallahi and an accomplice were hiding there, el-Sheik conveyed. "This is a major blow to the terrorist group," el-Sheik said.
El-Mallahi, who was about 30 years old, was wanted for the April 24 triple bombings in Dahab. The group he led is also accused of carrying out the attacks in the Sinai resorts of Taba and Ras Shitan in October 2004 and in Sharm el-Sheik in July 2005.
El-Mallahi's accomplice, Mohammed Abdullah Abu Grair, was not injured in the shootout and was detained. Police found automatic rifles and hand-grenades at the scene.
Meanwhile, senior Israeli security officials have issued a stern warning to its citizens to stay away from Sinai desert, citing an "increased threat of kidnapping of Israeli citizens on the Sinai coast."
According to Haaretz, the warning, issued by the "Anti-Terrorism Command," which is under the aegis of the Prime Minister's Office, was issued late on Monday. The Command estimated on Tuesday that there may be 300-400 Israelis currently vacationing in Sinai.