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Middle East

Controversial judge survives assassination attempt in Cairo

A car bomb has targeted a judge who sentenced Egypt's first democratically-elected president to 20 years in prison. Many soldiers, police and officials have been killed since the military ousted Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Egypt's interior ministry on Friday announced that an Egyptian judge involved in cases against the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.

Judge Ahmed Aboul-Fotouh is known for being one of three judges on a panel that last year sentenced former President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison for inciting violence during clashes between protesters and police in 2012.

The ministry added that although the car bomb exploded as the judge's motorcade was passing by it, there were no injuries.

Egypt has witnessed an increase in targeted attacks on officials involved in the nationwide crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi was considered a senior member.

In June 2015, Egypt's Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat was killed by a car bomb in the nation's capital. Last month, suspected Islamists shot and killed an armored division general outside his house.

Hundreds of soldiers and police officers have died in Sinai, where an insurgency erupted in the wake of Morsi's ouster in 2013. Backed by popular protests, a military coup led by current President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi seized power in July of that year.

A month later, the army launched a brutal crackdown that claimed more than 1,000 lives, the majority of them supporters of Morsi's democratic claim to the presidency.

Human rights organizations have criticized the steady degradation of human rights and press freedom witnessed under el-Sissi's government, including forced disappearances, military trials for civilians and widespread censorship.

ls/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa)