Mohamed Abdel Ghani al-Gamasy, 81, the general who served as chief of operations in Egypt's army during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, died Saturday in Cairo. He had been in declining health in the last few years, suffering several strokes and undergoing open heart surgery.
Al-Gamasy was army chief of operations on Oct. 6, 1973, when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack against Israeli forces that had occupied the Sinai Peninsula since 1967.
After initial Arab success, Israel counterattacked and captured 15,000 Egyptian soldiers. Al-Gamasy led his country's delegation to the truce table. Less than two months after the war, he was named chief of staff and swiftly rose to minister of war.
Al-Gamasy was born in Bantanoun, a village about 40 miles north of Cairo, to a wealthy merchant family. He graduated from the Egyptian Military Academy in 1939, and in 1951, he earned the equivalent of a master's degree from Egypt's Staff and Command College.
After his retirement in 1981, he traveled to many Arab countries to lecture and serve as a military consultant. Among his clients was Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.