Gunmen kill senior Egyptian Interior
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[January 28, 2014]
By Michael Georgy
CAIRO (Reuters) — Two gunmen on a
motorbike killed a senior Egyptian Interior Ministry official outside
his home in Cairo on Tuesday, security officials said, putting pressure
on the military-backed government as it struggles to contain an Islamist
The death of General Mohamed Saeed, head of the technical office
of the minister of interior, suggested militants were stepping up
their campaign against the state at a delicate time in Egyptian
Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who toppled president
Mohamed Mursi in July, is expected to announce his candidacy for the
same post in the coming days, a move that will anger the Muslim
Brotherhood to which Mursi belonged.
The Islamist movement accuses Sisi of staging a coup that has
undermined democratic gains made since an uprising ousted autocrat
Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Hundreds of its supporters were killed in
clashes with security forces across Egypt in August.
In the violence since Mursi's ouster, hundreds of members of the
security forces have also been killed.
Saeed's assassination came hours before Mursi appeared at a
courthouse set up at a Cairo police academy to face charges of
kidnapping and killing policemen after a 2011 jailbreak.
Mursi, who already faces charges in three other cases, will not have
the opportunity to scream slogans against Sisi and the army-backed
government, as he did in previous court sessions.
This time he is being held in a glass cage with a sound system
controlled by the court, another example of the crackdown on dissent
which has drawn criticism from human rights groups.
The Interior Ministry confirmed Saeed's killing. He was an aide to
Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who survived an assassination
attempt last year.
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Political violence has hit investment and tourism hard in Egypt,
which is of strategic importance because of its peace treaty with
Israel and control of the Suez Canal.
Militant groups based in the largely lawless Sinai Peninsula have
killed hundreds of police and soldiers since Mursi's downfall, but
the Islamist insurgency appears to be taking root beyond the region
that borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.
It took autocrat Hosni Mubarak several years to end an Islamist
insurgency in the 1990s.
Last week, six people were killed in a wave of bomb attacks
targeting policemen in Cairo. And a Sinai-based militant group
brought down an army helicopter with a missile, killing five
(Writing by Michael Georgy; editing by Mike Collett-White)
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