Report: Bin Laden Physician in Sinai

Egyptian officials say Osama Bin Laden's personal physician and bomb maker is in Sinai after escaping prison earlier this year.

Gabe Kahn.,

Egyptian Army Sinai
Egyptian Army Sinai
Flash 90

Ramzi Mahmoud Al Mowafi, physician to late al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, escaped from a Cairo prison during the Egyptian revolution earlier this year and has resurfaced in the country's North Sinai area, agencies report.

"Al Mowafi, also known among his fellow Jihadists as the 'chemist,' escaped from a maximum security prison in Cairo on January 30 while serving a life sentence," Maj. Yaser Atia from Egyptian GSS told CNN Monday.

According to prison records, Al Mowafi was sentenced to life for a "military case" -- but more details were not immediately known.

Bin Laden's longtime personal physician and an explosives expert, Al Mowafi was born in Egypt in 1952. He left for Afghanistan to join al Qaeda, according to the data listed in his prison records.

"Al Mowafi was seen in Sinai by several Jihadist(s) according to witness testimonials," Gen. Sameh Seif Al Yezen said. "I know he is very dangerous and that he had set up his own laboratory in Tora Bora with bin Laden. A full report will be published on this matter in the upcoming week."

A general in Egypt's intelligence service, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said "Al Mowafi surfaced in el-Arish and communicated with several 'terrorists' from the Egyptian Takfir wal-Hijra and the Palestinian Islamic Army."

Takfir wal-Hijra is an Islamic terror group.

The general added, "Al Qaeda is present in Sinai, mainly in the area of Sakaska close to Rafiah."

The report of al Mowafi's presence in Sinai comes as Egypt launches a broad operation there against terrorists who have wrought chaos there in recent months, driving though towns firing live ammunition, attacking a police station, and bombing the gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan five times.

One person was killed and 16 were arrested on Monday, the first day of the operation, said Hazem al-Maadawi, a police officer involved in the operation. Police said they found hand grenades, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition in the operation

Citing an unnamed security official, state news agency EgyNews said authorities are targeting 15 more people who participated in attacks at an el-Arish police station -- some of whom are members of the extremist Jaish el-Islam group, which is affiliated with al Qaeda.

Also Tuesday, Egyptian officials said Hamas is harboring terrorists based in Gaza who participated in the Sinai attacks - it is unknown if Al Mowafi is among them.