Sinai blast 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Police have killed the leader of an al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group who was wanted for last month's Sinai bombings that killed 21 people, said the local police command.
Nasser Khamis el-Mallahi, the leader of Egypt's Monotheism and Jihad, was shot dead and his accomplice captured in a gunbattle in an olive grove on Tuesday morning, said the commander of North Sinai security police, Lt. Gen. Essam el-Sheik.
The killing of the group leader came a day after Israel warned its citizens to stay away from the Sinai, a popular destination with Israeli tourists, because of an "increased threat of kidnapping of Israeli citizens on the Sinai coast."
El-Sheik said security forces surrounded the olive grove in el-Karama district, south of El-Arish, after receiving a tip that el-Mallahi and his accomplice were hiding there. Bedouin scouts had also reported that tracks of two suspects led into the grove.
El-Mallahi, 30, was wanted for the three bombs that detonated almost simultaneously in the Red Sea resort of Dahab on April 24 in which 21 people were killed. He was married to a Palestinian and three children, police said.
His group, Monotheism and Jihad, has also been 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-Sheik identified the accomplice as Mohammed Abdullah Abu Grair and said he was not wounded in Tuesday's shootout.
Police found automatic rifles and hand-grenades at the scene.