We delve into the haunting tales of Egyptian murderers through the ages...
A topic that captures the public’s imagination, it’s unclear why crime continues to fascinate us. However, in Egypt, we don’t celebrate serial killers. In fact, they quite often slip under our radar. There’s no t-shirt, mug or inflatable doll with Raya and Sikina’s face, even though it would sell, it’s just not part of our culture. But, despite the fact that these killers are unknown to us that doesn’t make them any less ferocious than their celebrated counterparts.
1.Saad Iskandar Abdelmeseeh AKA Karmouz Killer
Saad Iskandar Abdelmeseeh is Alexandira’s second most notorious serial killer after Raya and Sikeena. Perhaps Abdelmeseeh rode the wave of their popularity because of the similarity in the crimes; kidnapping and killing young women. However this guy also killed a few men. Abdelmeseeh fled his hometown of Asyut after his first murder, and relocated to Alexandria where he rented out a little storage unit in the neighbourhood of Ragheb Basha Karmouz which was the scene to many of his affairs and crimes. Abdelmeseeh was said to be very handsome and dashing, which made him exceptionally good with the ladies. His first murder was in his hometown where he worked at a weaving and textile company which his older brother owned. It was there that he met a rich older woman, and killed her, took her money and escaped to Alexandria. Posing still as being in the weaving and textile business, Abdelmeseeh rented the storage unit and masqueraded it as such, but it only served as a graveyard for his victims where he kept them hidden.
The police realised what was going on when girls were disappearing from the neighbourhood at the alarming rate of a girl every four to five days. Fear at that point was spreading in the area but the police had no clues or leads: none of the girls had showed up neither dead nor alive. Abdelmeseeh was now out branching to killing other weaving and textile merchants, luring them into his office in hopes of accomplishing business deals only to get the back end of his cleaver, which also happens to be his weapon of choice.
The way Abdelmeseeh fell into the hand of law is one of the most peculiar and unlucky police captures. He was frequenting an apartment of a young woman named Fatma. Afraid of public ridicule, Fatma was introducing Abdelmeseeh as her older brother. One night Fatma told Abdelmeseeh about the senile old, yet rich, woman Bomba (yeah, we know) who lived across from her. Expectedly, one night Abdelmeseeh came to Fatma’s building and headed straight for the Bomba’s apartment. He knocked on the door, and it was answered as she was expecting one of her children. Abdelmeseeh quickly grabbed her and closed the door behind him, giving her a couple of hits from his cleaver until the head completely rolled away from the body. It took about a minute until another neighbour was knocking on the door to inquire about the screaming. When the neighbour asked where Bomba was, Saad calmly said she was praying. The neighbour went in to double check and Abdelmeseeh attacked her too.
Having now killed outside of his storage room, Abdelmeseeh was cocky at this point, but he was wrong to assume that all his witnesses were dead. Through some miracle, the neighbour had somehow made it through the attack and said it was Fatma’s brother. However when they brought in Fatma’s real brother, she said it wasn’t him. It wasn’t until Fatma was brought in that she identified Saad Iskandar Adelmeseeh as a man she had been dating as the person she referred to as her brother.
Abdemeseeh was brought in for questioning and due to the conflicting statements of the neighbours, the evidence seemed to be lacking and he was subsequently free to go. Abdelmeseeh made a run for it and it wasn’t long until they asked in Karmouz and discovered all the bodies in his storage unit. With that knowledge he got on the first bus out of Alexandria and back to Asyut... where he was caught at a random check point.
2.Ramadan Abdel-Reheem Mansour AKA El-Torbeeny
Gleaning his nickname from a train, Mansour is responsible for running and leading a gang of six members who kidnapped, raped and then mutilated street kids; it is said that over 32 murders took place. Mansour used to work at the early age of 12 in a cafeteria by the railroad station and it was there that he met a thug named Abdo “El-Torbeeny” who used to take his money, and verbally and sexually abuse him. He raped Mansour and took him to the roof of the train and tossed him from the top, causing his right eye to be crossed as well as damaging him psychologically in a way that turned him into a sick vigilante who seeks revenge by repeating what was done to him to other kids. In Stockholm Syndrome fashion he adopted his attacker's name.
It was on Monday November 27th, 2006 that the body of 14-year old Mohamed Salem was found in an Alexandrian train station basement. Physically abused, this seemed to coincide with other bodies showing up in different cities at train stations. El Torbeeny and his gang used to lure street kids in hopes of getting work as beggars, then bring them to the station and find hidden areas where trains are parked before raping them collectively, and throwing their unconscious bodies onto the tracks of on coming trains.
El-Torbeeny and his gang were caught in an Italian Mafia style arrest. The police was able to first catch one of the gang members and while he was being interrogated, they caught another. The two seemed to spill the beans on everyone else, revealing their activities and location. At the time of capture police had already found 15 bodies, and after their arrest, a confession followed where the gang members said they know of another 17 bodies and they would help the police locate them. When the media at the time spoke to El-Torbeeny’s brother, the news was rather shocking for him. The gang leader was known to be quite beloved around their neighbourhood and everyone was nice to him because of his history and mental disability.
3.Mohamed Mostafa Mahmoud El Sayed AKA The Maadi killer
El Sayed was the perpetrator of 9 murders in 2009, in and around Maadi. If you’ve lived in Cairo at the time, you must remember all the commotion, and parents warning their kids to stop frequenting the upscale neighbourhood of Maadi. Because this was recent and because the killer, unlike El-Torbeeny, didn’t prey on street kids, this was all over the news in no time. EL Sayed was like a serial killer straight out of a scene in a movie; disturbed background, methodical, and chose his victims carefully. They were all women, all stabbed from the back with a sharp object before he would flee the scene. In the first operation of its kind in Egypt the police actually had 50 women working undercover in hopes of catching the Maadi killer to no avail. Although these tactics never worked at capturing El Sayed, they worked at making the crimes fizzle out with his story soon to be forgotten. For a full two years, El Sayed wasn’t heard from or about, until police stated that they captured the Maadi killer, reminding the public who had forgotten of his existence.
According to news sites and officials El Sayed was too shy to ever approach any girl, and that he had homosexual experiences while in college. Soon afterwards, he saw a candid camera prank where the guy would run up to a girl on the street and pull and rip an item of clothing off her. Soon El Sayed was toying with the idea but he couldn't just rip their clothes off so he decided to use a sharp razor blade. It started one night while El Sayed was in Maadi looking to get a job as a hair dresser. He saw a girl headed to the metro he followed her and used his razor blade to cut her pants open, groped her body and headed to a garden nearby where he would pleasure himself after his crimes.
It is to be noted that El Sayed’s lawyer fought the case with an appeal and won. It was rumored a few months ago that he was soon to be released. A novel called The Maadi Killer was published in 2010.
Although it is unknown how many Hanafy personally killed, it is known that through the business he ran with his brother, he had a hand in the murders of at least 104 people. Not much is known about his childhood, however he did start a guns and drugs empire, and, at a time, was the biggest supplier in Egypt. When it reached a certain point, and despite being in Upper Egypt, it was hard for the state to ignore Hanafy's operations, especially with several threats to parliament members in Cairo who were getting in his way surfacing. As notorious as he had gotten, Hanafy secluded himself on an island, away from the police and away from the world. Much like a fortress, gas tanks were installed on palm tress and barbed wire in the water. He was expecting to be invaded at anytime. And surely he was, in Upper Egypt style war between two families and five members got killed. Police surrounded the island for seven days before they invaded on March 1st, 2004. Just so you know the scale of Ezzat’s operation, police had to use 50 armored cars, 60 boats and over 3000 soldiers to topple down the kingdom Hanafy had built.
5.Salah AKA The Engineer
Salah's alias is derived from his profession, and despite being an engineer, he had a demented mind and a grave mental illness causing him to kill over 200 children and chopping their bodies into little pieces that he stored really well, and then later used for his favourite hobby; fishing. And upon further analysis it was discovered that he his illness seemed to stem from the fact that after getting married and his wife giving birth, his child died in a fire in front of him and he wasn’t able to do much rendering him incapable of any compassion and later angry and jealous of other people’s children. Salah then turned his house into a torture chamber where he lured the children and murdered them. He was finally caught when two kids were able to escape his house, and guided police to his place of residence. Salah tried to commit suicide twice while awaiting sentencing; once by swallowing bug repellant and the other time using a knife. He failed both times, and was later sent to execution by hanging.