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Mastermind of Sinai bombings killed

Egyptian police killed the leader of an Islamist militant group blamed for a spate of attacks in tourist resorts in Sinai.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 02:22 IST

Egyptian police on Tuesday killed the leader of an Islamist militant group blamed for a spate of attacks in tourist resorts in the Sinai peninsula over the past 18 months, security sources said.

"Nasser Khamis al-Mallahi, the mastermind of the group, was killed this morning in clashes between police and members of the group," a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The shootout took place in Jabal Arish in North Sinai after police surrounded the area. Mallahi was shot dead and his right-hand man Mohammed Abdallah Elian was arrested, the official said.

Both men, whose names appear on a list of 25 wanted suspects issued by Sinai police, belong to the Tawhid wal Jihad (Unification and Holy War) group said to be responsible for attacks on Sinai's tourist packed Red Sea coast.

Mallahi, a father of two, took over the leadership of the Islamist group after then head Khaled Mussaed was killed by police in 2005.

In the latest attack in the Sinai, 19 people were killed in triple suicide bombings in the Red sea resort of Dahab on April 24.

Multiple bombings in Sharm el-Sheikh killed about 70 people in July 2005, the deadliest attack to have hit Egypt since a major wave of Islamist violence in the mid-1990s.

At least 34 people were also killed in bombings in and around the resort of Taba further up the Red Sea coast near the Israeli border in October 2004.

Police on Sunday said they were awaiting DNA test results to identify at least two suspects believed to have carried out the Dahab attacks.