Muhammad Abdel El Ghani El Gamasy
The Egyptian general who was the mastermind behind the Ramadan war against Israel.
General al-Gamasy as chief of military operation astounded Israel, in 1973, by breaching the Suez Canal and establishing three major bridgeheads in the Sinai Peninsula. He masterminded the audacious plan with his Syrian counterparts, and thus deserved to be hailed as 'hero of the crossing' by the Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat.
General al-Gamasy's Egyptian forces, under anti-aircraft missile cover, overran Israel's supposedly impregnable Bar-Lev desert defences. Naval units closed the Bab el-Mandab Straits and blocked the Israeli port of Eilat, while Egyptians and Israelis fought a huge tank battle. Finally, the super-powers enforced a ceasefire on October 24, and talks commenced under UN auspices on October 28, 1973. At the end of the conflict, al-Gamasy led the Egyptian delegation through truce negotiations and was later appointed Minister of War.
General al-Gamasy had proved Israel was not invincible. October 1973 represented 'a battle of honour for Egypt', he wrote in his memoirs. 'We had to go through with it, both to liberate our land and to erase the shame of the 1967 defeat.'
Al-Gamasy, respectful and honest, was born into a merchant family.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan