Al Qaeda’s Sinai commander was Bin Laden’s physician Dr. Ramzi Mowafi, a chemical arms expert
For more than two and a half years, Dr. Ramzi Mowafi, once Osama bin Laden’s personal physician, has led the most dangerous terrorist group in Sinai, Ansar al Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula, debkafile’s counterterrorism sources reveal. A charismatic figure and able operational commander with good connections across the jihadist world, Mowafi has gathered around this group a legion of 7,000 to 9,000 armed men, a hodgepodge of Bedouin Salafists, Palestinian Hamas and Jihad operatives, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood adherents and Sudanese and Yemeni radicals in search of jihad.
It is the Mowafi legion which is responsible for the series of deadly attacks on Egyptian military and security targets in Sinai and missile attacks on Israel.
Its deadliest operation was the multiple strike of Aug. 5, 2012, which left 16 Egyptian commandoes dead at their base in Rafah close to the Gazan and Israeli borders. The terrorists then seized their Egyptian victims’ armored vehicles and heavy weapons and used them to slam into the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Israel. One vehicle made it through and reached an IDF command base before a military helicopter destroyed it. That was the only time al Qaeda had attempted and almost managed to attack an Israeli military target.
Israeli officials made light of the incident, referring to “global jihadists” as responsible for the near miss. They were concerned to keep under their hats the identity of the mastermind of the multiple strike after discovering him to be Dr. Ramzi Mowafi, a relative of the Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Murad Mowafi, then an important contact of Israeli high defense and military officials in the maintenance of border security.
The then President Mohamed Morsi sacked the intelligence chief straight after the attack and replaced him with a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer.
For now, debkafile’s military sources report that Dr. Mowafi is organizing a large group of terrorists for another attempt to breach the border for a major attack in Israel. Incoming intelligence about his plans and movements has kept the IDF on high alert for the past two weeks along the borders with Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
Only after the Musllm Brotherhood was overthrown on July 3 were Egyptian military sources willing to name Dr. Mowafi as the al Qaeda mastermind who designed and administered the complex underground route smuggling weapons from al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood suppliers in Libya to Egyptian destinations, including Sinai, as well as the Gaza Strip.
Those sources also admit now that the Palestinian Hamas and its military arm are his allies and abet him in running that supply route.
Dr. Mowafi joined Osama bin Laden’s service 23 years ago. Our counterterrorism experts disclose that he was spotted by al Qaeda agents during a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1990, whereupon they moved to the Pakistani town of Peshawar. The Egyptian soon displayed talents over and above his medical training and was given a responsible position with the team developing explosive devices and chemical weapons.
Egyptian intelligence now believes that Mowafi may have planted a dense thicket of roadside bombs along the roads of Sinai to impede the advance of the Egyptian army mounting a large-scale offensive on al Qaeda lairs. According to our military sources, Egyptian security does not rule out the possibility that the Egyptian terrorist chief has armed his followers with chemical weapons imported from Libya or manufactured in local laboratories.