General Intelligence Directorate (Egypt)

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General Intelligence Service (GIS)
جهاز المخابرات العامة
شعار المخابرات العامة المصرية.JPG
Sculptured emblem at top of one gate - GID's headquarters in Cairo.
Agency overview
Formed1954; 67 years ago (1954)
JurisdictionGovernment of Egypt
HeadquartersCairo, Egypt
Agency executives
Parent agencyPresidency of Egypt

The General Intelligence Service (Arabic: جهاز المخابرات العامةGihaz El Mukhabarat El ‘Amma; GIS or GID), often referred to as the Mukhabarat (Arabic: المخابراتEl Mukhabarat) is an Egyptian intelligence agency responsible for providing national security intelligence, both domestically and transnationally, with a counter-terrorism focus.[4] The GIS is part of the Egyptian intelligence community, together with the Office of Military Intelligence Services and Reconnaissance (Arabic: إدارة المخابرات الحربية والاستطلاعIdarat El Mukhabarat El Ḥarbiya Wel Istitlaʾ) and National Security Agency (Arabic: قطاع الأمن الوطنيKetaʿ El Amn El Watani).[4]


The decision to set up an Egyptian intelligence service was taken by President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954, and placed under the command of Zakaria Mohieddin. The agency's importance rose when Nasser assigned its command to Salah Nasr, who held the post of director of the GID from 1957 to 1967 and thoroughly reorganized the agency. Under Nasr's supervision, the GID relocated to its own building and established separate divisions for Radio, Computer, Forgery and Black Operations. To cover the agency's expenses, Nasr set up Al Nasr Company, ostensibly an import-export firm, as a front organization. He played a very important role helping Algeria, Southern Yemen and many Arab and African states gain independence. Although the Egyptian foreign ministry was officially responsible for foreign affairs, GID initiated and aided many Arab and African movements for independence as a part of Gamal Abdel Nasser's anti-imperialist policies. Nasr established good relations with other intelligence agencies across the globe, which helped providing Egypt with wheat and establishing industries such as (Al Nasr Company for Motor Cars). One of his constructions is the Gezeera Tower in Cairo.

For several years the name of GID director was a secret only known to high officials and government newspapers chief editors. However, Major-General Omar Suleiman, who was the head of the GID from 1993 to January 2011, was the first one to break this taboo. His name was published before he himself became a known face in media after being envoyed by former Egyptian president Mubarak to Israel, USA and Gaza on several occasions.

On 31 January 2011, Major-General Murad Muwafi was declared the director of GID, after Omar Suleiman was appointed as a Vice President of Egypt and then resigned after former president Mubarak had to step down during the Egyptian revolution. He was later replaced by Mohamed Raafat Shehata.

In July 2013, as result of 2012–13 Egyptian protests, Mohamed Raafat Shehata was sacked by interim president Adly Mansour and was replaced by General Mohamed Ahmed Fareed.


In spite of the rule that says "success in the intelligence world is a buried secret while failure is a world wide scandal" the GID did achieve many successes a few of which were released and dramatized in Egyptian TV and cinema.

  • The GID states that it managed to plant an Egyptian agent among Jewish immigrants to Israel. That agent, Refaat Al-Gammal, managed to live 18 years in Israel without being discovered. In those years, he established a network of spies in various fields of the Israeli community, though this is contradicted by various Israeli sources, which claim that Refaat was a double agent and helped the IDF to win the Six-Day War.[5][6]
  • In 1970 the GID managed to hunt an Israeli oil rig while being shipped from Canada to Sinai (occupied at that time). Clandestine GID agents and frogmen succeeded in tracing the oil rig to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, and planted sets of explosives, had them detonated and crippled the rig. Ironically, this was done while the city was full, not only of Mossad agents protecting the oil rig, but also while it was full of CIA agents who were guarding the NASA astronauts during their visit to Côte d'Ivoire. This operation was published in 1985 under the name "Al-Haffar Operation" it was supervised at that time by GID director Amin Howeidi (1921–2009).
  • Perhaps a major success of the GID was handling the Egyptian "Strategic Deception Plan", which was carried out from January 1970 to October 1973 and aimed to conceal the Egyptian plans to launch massive operation to free occupied Sinai on 6 October 1973 starting the October war. The plan included planting false information and hidden implied data in Egyptian president Sadat's speeches and newspapers articles. For example, the GID prepared the military operations and evacuated complete sections of Cairo hospitals to be ready for receiving war casualties. This evacuation that took place few days before the war started, was done after declaring false information that those hospitals were infected with Tetanus. The plan included a major operation whose details are still not published. This operation aimed at getting detailed information of American spy satellites covering the Middle East, by knowing exact trajectories and timing of those satellites the GID prepared complicated logistic movement schedules for all Egyptian military units to avoid moving mass troops in timings where they could be spotted by satellites.
  • Gumaa Al-Shawan who used to provide the Mossad with false information from 1967 to 1973, he also used to get the advanced transmission devices from the Mossad and give it to the GID.
  • During the 1973 war with Israel the GID spied on Mossad weeks prior to the surprise attack on the 6 October 1973. The information derived allowed the director and his associates to identify the weakest points on the Israeli front line. A suicide mission to divert the Israeli counter-attack was initiated to halt Israeli movements into mainland Egypt.
  • An Egyptian spy, Amin K., who worked as a staffer in the German government's press office had passed information to the GIS between 2010 and 2019.[7]

Director of the General Intelligence[edit]

Director of the General Intelligence
Abbas Kamel

since 28 June 2018[8]
AppointerAbdel Fattah el-Sisi
President of Egypt
Inaugural holderZakaria Mohieddin

The Director of the General Intelligence serves as the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, which is part of the Egyptian Intelligence Community. The Director reports to the President. The Director is a civilian or a general or flag officer of the armed forces appointed by the President.

As of October 2019, the current director is Major General Abbas Kamel, while Nasser Fahmi[2] and Sisi's son, Mahmoud el-Sisi,[3] are deputy directors.

According to Mohamed Ali, the building contractor whose online videos criticising president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi sparked off the September 2019 Egyptian protests, Kamel's "main qualification ... was his close relationship with Sisi". Sisi's son Mahmoud el-Sisi, officially one of the Deputy Directors,[3] was seen by Ali as the de facto real head of the GIS.[9]

List of directors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Egypt appoints presidential aide as intelligence chief - Xinhua |".
  2. ^ a b "Egyptian president appoints new intelligence chief".
  3. ^ a b c d "Egypt activist Wael Ghonim's brother ordered to remain in custody". Al Jazeera English. 2019-09-22. Archived from the original on 2019-10-19. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  4. ^ a b Sullivan and Jones (2008): 33
  5. ^ The Spies: Israel's Counter-Espionage Wars, Yossi Melman, Eitan Haber
  6. ^ Yossi Melman (28 May 2004). אלמנת מרגל מצרי שפעל גם בישראל טוענת: בעלי הוא זה שחשף את אלי כהן [Widow of an Egyptian spy who worked also in Israel: My husband is the one who exposed the Eli Cohen]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Trial of alleged Egyptian spy in Merkel's press office starts". DW. 23 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Egypt's Sisi swears in former top aide as intelligence chief". June 28, 2018 – via
  9. ^ Ayesh, Mohammad (2019-10-16). "Mohamed Ali: Sisi and family toured new palace as Cairo burned". Middle East Eye. Archived from the original on 2019-10-19. Retrieved 2019-10-20.

Further reading[edit]

  • Sirrs, Owen L. (2010). A History of the Egyptian Intelligence Service: A History of the Mukhabarat, 1910–2009. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-56920-0.
  • Sullivan, Denis J.; Jones, Kimberley (2008). Global security watch — Egypt: a reference handbook. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Security International. ISBN 978-0-275-99482-2.
  • 1973- Weapons and Diplomacy- Heikal, Mohammd Hassanien - Printed 1993 - Al Ahram- Egypt
  • Auto biography of Salah Nasr- Printed 1998- Dar Al Khayal - Egypt