Mon, Oct 24, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Army officer killed in Cairo; militants claim responsibility

NY Times News Service, CAIRO

Suspected militants killed a senior Egyptian army officer on Saturday in a brazen daylight shooting outside the man’s home in a Cairo suburb.

The state media identified the officer as Brigadier General Adel Ragai, commander of the army’s 9th Armored Division.

Ragai, according to multiple pro-state newspapers, had previously been deployed to Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, where the military is fighting Islamic State militants.

The military did not issue a statement.

“I heard the gunshots and saw him die before my eyes,” Sumaya Zein el-Abedeen, the general’s wife, told state media outlets.

She said neighbors had told her they saw three gunmen with assault rifles in a vehicle outside the couple’s home.

The men fired on Ragai and his driver. Both men were taken to a hospital, where they were declared dead.

A group called Liwa al-Thawra, or the Revolution Brigade, claimed responsibility on Twitter for the attack.

The group’s account was then suspended.

Ragai’s killing is the highest-profile attack against an army official since the 2013 military ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptians subsequently elected Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the general who led Morsi’s ouster.

Several pro-government news outlets suggested that Ragai had been targeted because he played a prominent role in the destruction of border tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Gaza is governed by Hamas, a militant group that is loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood and is known to smuggle weapons through the underground passages.

The shooting came eight days after Islamic State militants stormed a military checkpoint in northern Sinai, leaving at least 12 soldiers and 15 militants dead.

Last year, Khaled el-Maniee, a pro-army tribal leader from Sinai, was shot dead outside his home in Obour, the same neighborhood in which Ragai lived.

Also on Saturday, state media reported, a court upheld a 20-year prison sentence for Morsi arising from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012.

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