Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egyptian Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Hani Abdullatif warned against an escalation in terrorist activity in Egypt on Tuesday following the killing of two Egyptian security officers.
“We are monitoring the escalation on the part of terrorist activities in Egypt, particularly assassinations and targeting of state infrastructure,” he said in exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat. He added that the Egyptian authorities were confronting any terrorist attempts with violence.
On Tuesday a senior aide to Egypt’s Interior Minister, police Gen. Mohamed El-Saeed, was shot dead outside his home in Giza, Cairo. He was head of the Interior Minister’s technical offices.
Eyewitnesses reported that two unknown gunmen on a motorcycle approached the senior police officer as he walked from his home to his car. After General Saeed got into his car, the gunmen opened fire, fatally shooting him before fleeing the scene. Egypt’s Public Prosecutor reported that he was killed after being shot in the neck through the car’s windshield.
A second Egyptian policeman was killed on Tuesday after gunmen opened fire on the Virgin Mary Coptic Church in the 6th of October City. Another policeman was reported injured in the attack.
Police guarding the church fired on the attackers and apprehended the two gunmen. Egypt’s Interior Ministry named the attackers as Mohamed Abdel-Hamid Ibrahim and Ahmed Mohamed Abdel-Rahman. Both were injured in the fighting. An automatic rifle and shotgun were seized at the scene of the crime.
Tuesday’s violence follows a series of bombings targeting police in the Egyptian capital last week. The four bombings killed at least six people on Friday, with Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis claiming responsibility for the attacks. Tuesday saw the second court appearance of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, with many Egyptians fearing that his second public appearance since his detention could lead to further violence. Security forces claimed to have dismantled a homemade bomb near Egypt’s High Court in central Cairo on Tuesday, in addition to seizing a box of molotov cocktails.
In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Hani Abdullatif said, in an explicit reference to the Muslim Brotherhood: “We are facing huge challenges and an inherited terrorist threat. This is the result of a terrorist organization ruling Egypt for one year.”
He added: “In the latest period we have achieved a lot of success in terms of securing the progress of the political process [and] approaching the conclusion of the political roadmap. This is what prompted these terrorist groups to step up their campaigns . . . but we will confront this with all our strength.”