Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Egypt: Update--Second Brigadier Police Officer Killed in April, Prompting Reign of Terror Against Cops

According to The Associated Press, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Zaki was the second police officer of flag rank killed this month in a bombing, an indicator of how the violence has shifted from high profile suicide and car bombings against police facilities toward more low-level attacks on individual officers or small police posts.

General Zaki's death was killed by an IED that had been under his vehicle in a western Cairo suburb Wednesday (April 23), the latest in a series of targeted attacks on police and the military as Islamic militant groups escalate their attacks on government officials since last summer's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Brig. Gen. Ahmed Zaki was the second police officer of that rank killed this month in a bombing, a sign of how the violence has shifted from high profile suicide and car bombings against police installation toward more low-level attacks on individual officers or small police posts.

Moreover, a police lieutenant was killed in a gunbattle that erupted as security forces raided a militant hideout near the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria.

Al-Qaeda-inspired militant groups have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in the wave of violence that escalated after the military ousted Morsi in July 2013.

Extremist groups have said their bombings and shootings are to avenge the fierce crackdown on Morsi's Islamist supporters in which more than 1,300 people have been killed and thousands arrested. 

Authorities believe that militants have killed more than 450 policemen and soldiers in clashes and attacks since last July, the government says. Of that number, 262 were police officers.

There was no immediately claim of responsibility for Wednesday's killing, although the Interior Ministry allege the Muslim Brotherhood to be involved.

COMMENT: General Zaki was heading to work early Wednesday morning from his home in a Cairo suburb when the IED detonated under his assigned police vehicle, killing him.

Zaki is one of the most senior officers to be killed in the campaign of violence. He was in the leadership of the Central Security Forces, the riot police branch that takes the lead role in dealing with protests and general security.

Another brigadier general was killed on April 2 when three IEDs were placed near a riot police post outside Cairo University, where protests by largely Morsi supporters. 

A new group that first appeared in January 2014, Ajnad Misr, or "Egypt's Soldiers," claimed responsibility for that bombing. In a statement, it said it was waging a campaign of retribution and that the slain police general had been involved in killings of protesters. It said the attack also came in response to increased detentions of female protesters.

Also Wednesday, in Egypt's second-largest city, Alexandria, Lt. Ahmed Saad was shot and killed during a raid on a militant hideout. Militants opened fire on the police as they moved on the hideout, in a farm area in Borg al-Arab, a western district on the Alexandria's outskirts, the city's police chief Police Maj. Gen. Amin Ezzedin told the state news agency MENA. 

On Sunday (April 20), gunmen killed a police captain and a conscript in a firefight on a desert road outside Cairo. Two days earlier, a bomb killed at policeman at a traffic post in a busy Cairo square.

I continue to discourage tourism travel to Egypt during April, May and June on the basis that the upcoming presidential election during May 26-27 is very likely to bolster attacks on tourists and government forces alike:

http://stayingsafeabroad.blogspot.com/2014/04/egypt-update-two-bomb-blasts-in-cairo

I remain to warn all tourists that Egyptian terror groups have previously threatened to attack foreign tourists.

Needless to say, foreign tourists should avoid being in proximity of Egyptian police officers and stations given the continuing attacks on police.