An Egyptian court has indicted Yehia Elsayed Ibrahim Moussa—a.k.a. Yehia Moussa—for being the mastermind behind the murder of Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat on June 29, 2015. Moussa is a Muslim Brotherhood member who lives in exile in Turkey, and his indictment is the result of court proceedings that have taken place over the past three years (Al-Arabiya, February 21; Al-Youm Elsabea, February 20).
The indictment came after those accused of the attack testified in court that Moussa—the former spokesperson for the ministry of health during Mohamed Morsi’s one-year tenure as president—recruited for and orchestrated Barakat’s assassination. Barakat was killed when an IED placed in a parked vehicle detonated near his passing motorcade.
The court found the nine Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated perpetrators guilty and sentenced them to death. Egypt’s authorities executed them on February 20. In a separate, earlier ruling in the same case, Cairo Criminal Court sentenced 28 other people to death for involvement in the assassination plot. The total number of suspects in Barkat’s murder case is 67, including 16 people who have fled the country (Al-Arabiya, February 20).
According to his own confession, Mohamady, a high school student, was introduced to Moussa through some of his Muslim Brotherhood contacts. He claimed that Mohamady sent him through underground tunnels on the Egyptian border to Gaza. Mohamady met other Muslim Brotherhood members there, including Abu Yasser, Abo Omar, and Abu Hozaifa. In Gaza, he also developed several skills related to guerilla warfare, including bomb-making expertise (Al-Youm Al-Sabae, February 20).
Mohamady, who was arrested after the attack, confessed that Moussa had tasked him to prepare an explosive charge weighing 60 kilograms to target the prosecutor general. After he received the required materials to manufacture the bomb, Moussa planned the attack to take place on June 28 (Mada Masr, February 20).
Ahmad Gamal Ahmad Mahmoud, a student at al-Azhar University from Sharqya governorate, said he was accommodated by a family of Muslim Brotherhood members in Cairo. He took part in the Rabaa Square sit-in in 2013, which was violently dispersed by Egyptian police. Mahmoud was tasked with monitoring police checkpoints and tracking the prosecutor general’s convoy. He was given a map of the prosecutor general’s house and the surrounding neighborhood, as well as other information about the convoy, including that it consisted of three cars and a motorcycle.
Another convict, Abul-Qasem Ahmad Ali Mansour, confessed that he was assigned by Moussa to purchase a number of cars which were used for carrying out the operation. He used an identification card lost by a woman at a post office to complete the purchases.
The confessions suggested that the explosive charges were made at a farm in the Sharqya governorate and were transported to an apartment in the Giza governorate city of Sheikh Zayed. “The explosive charge which is made up of 80 kilograms of omnium was placed in a car and exploded remotely by a remote-control device” said Abul-Qasem. After the explosion, Abul-Qasem confessed that “we all fled the scene, hiding among the passersby and took a waiting Hyundai car at the end of the street where the operation was implemented.” They also said “we tried to carry out the operation on June 27, 2015, but when the route of the convey had changed, we postponed it to the following day” (Al-Youm Al-Sabae, February 20).
No information is yet available indicating that Moussa was active in any other militant operation after Barakat’s murder. However, it seems he has an extensive network in Egypt and communicates with Muslim Brotherhood members online. The Egyptian authorities now must work to identify his network in the country and launch preemptive attacks to dismantle it.