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.
Earlier Sunday, a train traveling south of Egypt’s capital slammed into vehicles crossing the tracks early Monday, killing at least 22 people, state TV said.
A medical emergency official, Ahmed el-Ansari, told Nile News TV that 28 people were injured. He said the number of dead may rise but that all victims had been cleared from the scene.
A security official said the train was traveling from the southern city of Beni Suef when it hit at least three vehicles, including a small bus, near the village of Dahshur, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Cairo.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.
Nile News TV quoted security officials as saying the crossing gates of the tracks had been closed and the train’s driver was surprised to see vehicles still crossing.
Egypt is notorious for train collisions and has a poor safety record that is mostly blamed on decades of badly maintained equipment.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.