Israel-Egypt border.
Israel-Egypt border. Photo by Moti Milrod
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Egyptian security forces arrested the suspected leader of a Sinai terror ring allegedly responsible for a deadly border attack in August, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency said on Sunday, saying the man was arrested in a tourist spot at the desert peninsula.

On Sunday, a Ma'an report quoted Egyptian security forces as saying they had detained Muhammad Eid Musleh Hamad, known as Muhammad al-Teeh, accused of planning the August attack, as well as several others across the Sinai.

On August 18, eight Israelis were killed on a desert border road by gunmen who Israel has said infiltrated from the Gaza Strip via Egypt's neighboring Sinai desert.

Seven of the attackers were killed by Israeli forces and Egypt said five of its men died in the crossfire. The incident triggered the most serious diplomatic row with Egypt since a popular revolt overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak in February.

According to the Ma'an report, the man was detained in a tourist spot at the Sinai city of El-Arish following a joint operation by Egyptian police and military forces. Al-Teeh reportedly surrendered himself without resistance.

The Egyptian news agency MENA is also quoted as saying that authorities suspected the militant leader of masterminding attacks on police stations in the city, topping a government "wanted" list.

The diplomatic row between Israel and Egypt which began with the August attack Al-Teeh is suspected of masterminding seemed to have eased late last month, with the completion of the Egypt-mediated prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas over the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

As soon as news of the newly signed deal got out, Israel also issued an official apology over the death of the Egyptian policemen in August, thus accepting the results of a joint probe set up by the two countries to investigate the incident.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: מצרים עצרה חשוד בתכנון מתקפת הטרור ליד אילת