From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy in Cairo, For CNN
Ramzi Mahmoud Al Mowafi, the doctor of the 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, an official said. The revelation comes as Egypt cracks down on terror cells in Sinai.
"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 General Security 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 doctor 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 did not want to be identified because he is not authorized to speak with the media, told CNN that "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 a militant Islamist group.
The general added, "Al Qaeda is present in Sinai, mainly in the area of Sakaska close to Rafah."