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Ministry of Interior kills leader of alleged ‘terrorist cell’ responsible for journalist’s murder

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The cell, operating in east Cairo, planned further attacks

The Ministry of Interior announced Monday that the leader of the “cell” responsible for Al-Dostour journalist Mayada Ashraf has been killed alongside another member of the same cell in eastern Cairo.

The statement, posted to the ministry’s official Facebook page, noted that two other members of the cell have been arrested.

The statement alleges that the members of the cell, among who are “elements of various extremist movements, especially the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organisation”, were responsible for a number of other crimes, including the murder of Coptic Christian Mary George, and burning police cars and power transformers.

According to the statement, the cell also planned a number of further “terrorist operations”, including monitoring and potentially robbing Christian gold shops in Ain Shams, targeting police stations with explosives, monitoring police officers’ homes, and burning power transformers.

Nineteen members of the cell were arrested and found in possession of a number of weapons, ammunition and explosives. The leader of the cell allegedly rented four apartments in which members of the cell could meet and live.

When security forces raided the apartments, members fired from the roof, wounding one of the police officers. His condition is unclear.

Two members of the cell were killed in the attack: the leader, Mohamed Abu Al-Liela, and Ayman Saidy. According to the statement, the two men were also armed with a rifle and a handgun.

Dostour journalist Mayada Ashraf was shot and killed on Friday while covering clashes between security forces and protesters in Cairo’s Ain Shams area. Reports from the scene suggested that Ashraf was shot by security forces, although her final dispatch noted that the Muslim Brotherhood protest “exchanged gunfire and birdshot” with security forces.

The same day, Coptic Christian Mary George was stabbed to death in Ain Shams while passing by a protest.

Mayada Ashraf was the 10th journalist killed in Egypt since the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb has agreed to consider her as a “martyr of the revolution”, eligible for a requisite pension.


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