Egypt blames militants for officer's killing
18 November 2013, 19:01
Cairo - Egyptian security officials have blamed Islamist
militants for the shooting death of an Interior Ministry lieutenant colonel,
the highest-profile killing in Cairo since the overthrow of Islamist president
Mohammed Morsi in July.
Mohamed Mabruk was killed outside his home in Cairo's Nasr
City district on Sunday, three days after a three-month curfew and state of
emergency were lifted.
Mabruk, who was shot by masked men, was in charge of
monitoring Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement in the Interior Ministry's
National Security division.
"Our investigations point to Islamic jihadists carrying
out this assassination with political motives," a security official told
Reuters. "They were taking revenge on Mabruk because he took care of a
very high profile file."
The army-backed government accuses the Brotherhood of
carrying out militant attacks. It makes no distinction between the Brotherhood
and militants in Sinai, who attack security forces almost daily.
The Brotherhood, which won every election since strongman
Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February 2011, says it is a peaceful movement.
The killing is bound to raise fears that an Islamist
insurgency could take hold beyond the Sinai Peninsula, where militants have
escalated attacks since the army overthrew Mursi following mass protests
against his rule.
Political turmoil and attacks by al-Qaeda inspired Islamists
in the Sinai near Israel have hurt investment and tourism in Egypt, one of the
United State's most important Arab allies.
Islamists waged a full-blown insurgency in Egypt in the
1990s which was eventually crushed by then president Mubarak.
Security sources said Mabruk was shot seven times. There has
been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Mabruk was involved in sensitive work. He helped to uncover
the identity of a former military officer who staged a failed suicide bombing
attack on the interior minister in Cairo in September.
He was also in charge of revealing the location of Muslim
Brotherhood members who attempted to assist leaders of the movement flee the
country after the army takeover, the security sources said.
The Brotherhood has seen hundreds of its members killed in a
security crackdown and thousands arrested. Morsi and 14 other senior Brotherhood
figures are on trial for inciting violence.
The army says a political roadmap will lead to free and fair
elections in Egypt, where the popular uprising which toppled Mubarak raised
hopes of democracy after decades of authoritarian rule.