Senior Security Officer Shot Dead in Cairo

An officer who was in charge of monitoring Islamist groups shot dead by masked gunmen in Cairo.

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Elad Benari,

Cairo clashes
Cairo clashes

Unknown gunmen shot and killed a senior national security officer in Cairo late Sunday as he headed to his office, reports The Associated Press.

A statement from the Egyptian Interior Ministry said that gunmen opened fire on a car carrying Lt. Col. Mohammed Mabrouk of the national security agency, killing him on the spot near his home in the eastern Cairo suburb of Nasr City.

Mabrouk reportedly worked in the agency's branch in charge of monitoring Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

He is one of the most senior security officers to be targeted and killed in Cairo in the violence that has gripped Egypt since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July.

A security official quoted by AP said Mabrouk was hit by seven bullets in his chest and head fired by gunmen whom witnesses described as masked.

The incident comes just three days after the government lifted a state of emergency that was declared on August 14, the day the army - which had installed an interim government - dispersed two Islamist protest camps, killing hundreds of protesters.

In September, Egypt extended it by two months, raising the ire of the United States, which urged Egypt to lift the state of emergency and pressed it "to create an atmosphere where Egyptians on all sides can peacefully exercise their right to freedom of assembly and expression."

Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has been hit by a spiral of violence. Suspected Islamist supporters of Morsi have torched dozens of churches and police stations in retaliation.

The country’s Interior Minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, survived an assassination attempt by a suicide car bomber several months ago.

The Sinai Peninsula has been of particular concern, since it has become increasingly lawless since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and the terror attacks have only increased since Morsi’s removal.

The Egyptian armed forces have launched large scale military operations against terrorists in Sinai in an attempt to suppress the insurgency.