CAIRO: Egypt’s security forces killed a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader and another member of the outlawed Islamist group in an overnight shootout at a Cairo apartment, the Interior Ministry said yesterday. A ministry statement carried by the state MENA news agency said 61-year-old Mohammed Kamal, a physician by profession, was killed along with Yasser Shahata Ali Ragab in an exchange of gunfire as police tried to arrest the two late on Monday night. But a Brotherhood statement posted on its official website shortly after reports of the shootout surfaced said Kamal had been arrested by police, suggesting he was killed after being taken into custody.
In July 2015, the Brotherhood made a similar claim when security forces raided an apartment in a western Cairo suburb, saying nine of its members were killed after they were rounded up. Authorities said at the time that the nine were armed and were meeting at the apartment to plan attacks. Kamal was wanted for his part in more than a dozen armed attacks, the ministry said. He was twice sentenced in absentia to life in prison for establishing armed groups and for an explosion near a police station in the southern city of Assiut. He led several armed branches of the Brotherhood, the statement said.
Kamal was also wanted for planning the June 2015 killing in Cairo of Egypt’s chief prosecutor, Hisham Barakat – the first assassination of a top Egyptian official in 25 years. The government had earlier implicated the Palestinian militant Hamas group, accusing it of training in the Gaza Strip individuals who carried out the assassination. Hamas has denied the accusation.
The statement additionally said Kamal was behind the failed assassination of Egypt’s former mufti, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, in Cairo in August. A lesser-known militant group claimed responsibility for that attack. Egypt has been carrying out an extensive clampdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and other government opponents since the ouster in 2013 by the military of Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist president who hailed from the Brotherhood. Earlier, Ragab, the second Brotherhood member killed on Monday night, had been sentenced in absentia to 10 years’ imprisonment for assault and kidnapping. MENA said police also confiscated weapons and munitions at the scene. —AP