Alwaght- Egyptian police said on Monday they killed a top ISIS terrorist group operative in Cairo, who was implicated in a string of deadly attacks. The terrorist identified as Ashraf Ali Ali Hassanein al-Gharabli was shot dead in an exchange of fire after police tried to arrest him, an interior ministry statement said.
The interior ministry statement said police had managed to track down Hassanein in the capital, but when they tried to arrest him as he drove a car in a north Cairo suburb he opened fire. “He sensed them and shot at them, in an attempt to flee, requiring the police forces to exchange fire with him leading to his death,” the ministry statement said.
Hassanein was one of the most sought after militants in the country, and had featured in a wanted notice by police as early as January 2014, months into a militant insurgency centered in the Sinai Peninsula.
He was also implicated in the bombing of the Italian consulate in Cairo last July.
Security officials say he had been the right-hand man of Hisham al-Eshmawi, a feared former commando who is believed to have spearheaded a string of bombings and assassinations in the capital for the militant Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group which later changed its name to Wilayat al Sinai. In November 2014, the group pledged allegiance to ISIS, prompting Eshmawi to abandon it, and leaving Hassanein as one the group’s top operatives west of Sinai.
Analysts believe that the current militancy in Sinai Peninsula is the upshot of the security vacuum that was created by the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically-elected President Mohammed Morsi, an act which prepared the ground for the advent of terrorist groups such as the ISIS in Egypt.