Ashraf Ali Hassanein al Gharabli, Top ISIS terrorist
Ashraf Ali Hassanein al Gharabli was the senior commader of the ISIS in Sinai Province.
The Egyptian interior ministry announced that police managed to kill al Gharabli in the Egyptian capital Cairo during a heavy exchange between the militants and police.
Al Gharabli has been involved in a number of attacks and terrorist activities including the following
The July 11, 2015 car bombing outside the Italian consulate in Cairo which destroyed the building completely and injured several Egyptian policemen.
The latest likely possibility is al Gharabli’s role in the downing of a Russian airliner on 31st October, 2015, in which all 224 passengers on board were killed.
Early November 2015, the Islamic State’s Aleppo “province” released video congratulating militants in the Sinai “province” for downing the Russian airliner.
The killing of al Gharabli is a major blow to the Islamic State Sinai Province considering the manner of brutalities he was capable of. He was one of the initiators of the IS Sinai Province.
The killing waters away the militants’ claim of successes as it does a heavy blow within its ranks.
Ashraf Ali Hassanein Gharabali was shot dead on Sunday after police tried to arrest him in the capital’s El-Marg district.
Gharabali has been one of the most wanted militants in the country since at least January 2014, just months after an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai peninsula began in earnest.
His group, which named itself Sinai Province when it swore allegiance to Isil in November last year, has claimed responsibility for the destruction of Flight 9268 from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg on Oct 31, killing all 224 people on board.
The air disaster has dealt a painful blow to Egypt’s tourism industry, increasing pressure on the authorities to take meaningful action against a group it has been fighting in its north Sinai heartland for over four years. The interior ministry linked Gharabali to an array of attacks stretching from Luxor to Egypt’s Western Desert, including a May 2013 assassination attempt on the interior minister.
If confirmed, experts say his involvement would suggest Sinai Province exercises a more organised presence in the north and west of the country than had previously been believed. Gharabali was the right-hand man of Hisham al-Ashmawy, a former commando who is believed to have plotted a series of bombings and assassinations in Cairo for an earlier incarnation of Sinai Province, known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.
Mokhtar Awad, an analyst at the Washington-based Centre for American Progress, cast doubt on whether Gharabali was actively engaged in operations in Sinai, noting his past involvement in a once-powerful Nile Valley cell.
“His death has little implication on the group’s operations in Sinai or those responsible for the alleged bombing of the Metrojet flight,” Mr Awad said.