A little known Egyptian group has claimed responsibility for the killing of a senior Egyptian army officer outside his suburban Cairo home.
The claim came in a statement by the “Banner of the Revolution” posted late Saturday on social media accounts known to be sympathetic to militant groups. The claim’s authenticity could not be immediately verified.
Brig-Gen. Adel Ragai was the commander of the army 9th armored division headquartered in the sprawling military base of Dahshour west of Cairo. He had recently served in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, where security forces have been fighting Islamic militants for years.
The statement said Ragai’s driver and security guard were injured in the Saturday attack, which Egyptian media reported had been carried out by three masked gunmen.
The statement claimed the attack was in part in revenge for the killing earlier this month by security forces of Mohammed Kamal, a senior official of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.
The only other attack for which Banner of the Revolution claimed responsibility was an August shooting at a checkpoint in Menoufiya province north of Cairo which left two policemen dead and wounded three policemen and two civilians.
Hours after the attack on Ragai, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi conferred with his prime minister, the defense and interior ministers and intelligence chief to review the security situation, according to a presidential statement. It said el-Sissi urged authorities to beef up security at vital installations, but gave no details.
Before the statement, suspicion fell on the local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group leading the fight against security forces in Sinai and Hasm, or “Decisiveness,” a shadowy group suspected of links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hasm has claimed responsibility in recent weeks for attacks in Cairo, including a shooting against the country’s former mufti, or chief Muslim theologian, and a car bomb against the chief prosecutor’s deputy. Both escaped unhurt.
The insurgency in Sinai has grown deadlier following the military’s 2013 ouster of an elected but divisive Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, himself a career army officer, said in a recent interview that he expected the war in Sinai to continue for a long time and that both sides in the conflict were getting better at fighting each other.