Hisham Barakat, Egypt’s Chief Prosecutor, died on Monday of wounds sustained after a bomb in a parked car was remotely detonated as his motorcade passed by, state news agency MENA said.
Barakat died from “ruptures in the lung and stomach, and internal bleeding” at Al-Nozha hospital where he was admitted, Health Minister Adel Adawi said.
Egypt’s presidency on Monday mourned the death of the prosecutor-general and announced the cancellation of public celebrations originally scheduled for Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of the public protests that ended the brief rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.
It vowed to mete out severe punishment on “the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” stressing that violence will fail to hamper development in the country.
“These kinds of vicious attacks will not deter the state from continuing its path of development, the adoption of rights, and realizing the hopes and aspirations of the Egyptian people,” the presidency’s office said in a statement according to MENA.
A group referring to itself as the Popular Resistance in Giza claimed the attack, but security sources said it bears the fingerprints of other Islamist groups, such as the Sinai Peninsula-based Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis that declared allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda-linked Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt).
Both groups have claimed responsibility for several attacks on security and military targets over the past two years in Egypt.
Islamist-inspired attacks on state facilities and figures have intensified in Egypt since Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, former defense minister, toppled the Brotherhood-affiliated president Mohamed Mursi following a popular uprising against his government in mid-2013.
In May, suspected Islamist insurgents killed three judges in the Sinai city of El-Arish.
Barakat was appointed as prosecutor-general only days after the toppling of Mursi and quickly became known among political and judicial circles as the “fiercest counter-terrorism warrior in Egypt.”
A failed attempt on Barakat’s life took place in March when a bomb exploded outside his office in the High Court in central Cairo.
President Sisi on Monday instructed Interior Minister Magdi Abdel-Ghafar to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, urging him to take all necessary measures to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future.
Many in Egypt have accused the Brotherhood of standing behind the attack especially after several of its exiled members issued threats following the latest string of death sentences against the Islamist group’s leaders.
Seven suffered minor injuries in the attack, including three members of the prosecutor’s security detail, according to police.
Funeral prayers for Barakat were held following Tuesday noon prayers at the Tantawi Mosque in Cairo.