EL-ARISH, Egypt, AP -Police on Tuesday killed the leader of an Islamic militant group wanted for the terrorist attacks last month in a Sinai beach resort town that killed 21 people, officials said.
Nasser Khamis el-Mallahi, leader of the group Monotheism and Jihad, 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.
Anti-terrorist forces surrounded the grove after receiving a tip that el-Mallahi and an accomplice were hiding there, el-Sheik said.
“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, a town in southern Sinai. His group 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.
Egypt says a locally based terrorist group carried out all three attacks, but foreign experts say it is likely to have links to the international al-Qaida network.
El-Mallahi’s accomplice, Mohammed Abdullah Abu Grair, was not wounded in the shootout and was arrested. Police found automatic rifles and hand-grenades at the scene.