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Egypt: Gunmen kill senior security officer

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SARAH EL DEEB | November 17, 2013 06:54 PM EST | AP


CAIRO (AP) — Unknown gunmen shot and killed a senior national security officer in Cairo late Sunday as he headed to his office, the Interior Ministry said.

A statement from the ministry said 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 worked in the agency's branch in charge of monitoring Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, a security official familiar with Mabrouk's work said.

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

The security official said Mabrouk was hit by seven bullets in his chest and head fired by gunmen whom witnesses described as masked. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The country has seen persistent violence since the coup that removed Morsi after days of mass protests against the country's first democratically elected president. There have been bloody crackdowns on pro-Morsi protests, retaliatory violence blamed on Islamists, and an escalation of attacks by Islamic militants on Coptic Christian churches, security forces and the military, mainly in the Sinai Peninsula.

The government had imposed a state of emergency and nighttime curfew since mid-August, and only lifted it last Thursday.

The military and police have been waging a counterinsurgency against Islamic militants in northern Sinai, and the unrest has increasingly moved closer to the capital.

In September, the interior minister, who heads the security forces, survived a suicide car bombing shortly after he left his home in the same neighborhood where Mabrouk was killed.