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Egypt accuses Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood of chief prosecutor's assassination

The Muslim Brotherhood was at the heart of the chief prosecutor's killing in 2015, said the interior minister. The chief prosecutor was the most senior official to be killed under el-Sissi's watch.

Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar said on Sunday that officials of the terrorist-designated Muslim Brotherhood organization conspired with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas to assassinate the country's chief prosecutor.

Egyptian Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat, known for handing down heavy sentences for Islamists that included mass death sentences, was killed in June 2015 by a car bomb in the upscale district of Heliopolis. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

However, Cairo regularly blames violence on the Muslim Brotherhood since a coup led by President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and backed by popular protests ousted Egypt's first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

"This plot was carried out on the orders of the Muslim Brotherhood … in close coordination with Hamas, which played a very important role in the assassination of the chief prosecutor from start to finish," Abdel-Ghaffar said at a news conference.

Abdel-Ghaffar said the Egyptian state had intercepted electronic communications in a way it had never done

Abdel-Ghaffar said Egypt intercepted electronic communications in a way it had never done before

'Major conspiracy'?

The interior minister specifically accused Muslim Brotherhood officials based in Turkey of giving the orders for the assassination.

"We intercepted electronic communications in a way that had never been done in the history of the Egyptian security apparatus," Abdel-Ghaffar said, according to the state-run al-Ahram Online news outlet.

"There is a major conspiracy targeting the Egyptian state … It began a long while ago and included a number of militant attacks, including the assassination of Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat," Abdel-Ghaffar added.

Barakat was the most senior state official assassinated since el-Sissi assumed power in 2014 in the first elections after the coup. El-Sissi campaigned on a platform of security and promised to put an end to the insurgency that erupted in North Sinai.

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ls/jlw (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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