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Egypt police kill gang members linked to Italian student's death

A Cairo gang that dresses as police officers and abducts foreigners has been implicated in the death of Italian Giulio Regeni. Authorities said four members were shot dead when they opened fire on security forces.

Police in Cairo said on Thursday that they had identified suspects linked to

the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni

. This announcement came immediately on the heels of police shooting dead four gang members in an exchange of gunfire, only to find Regeni's bag at the home of one of their family members.

"When they saw the police they fired at them. The police returned fire, resulting in their deaths," said the Egyptian Interior Ministry in a statement, adding that "Italian security has been has been notified about the results."

The authorities said the gang was known for posing as police officers and abducting or robbing foreigners. The interior ministry released photos of Regeni's student ID card and passport that were discovered after the gunfight.

28-year-old Regeni, a Cambridge University graduate student, was found tortured and murdered in January. He had been in the Egyptian capital researching labor movements, a touchy topic since a 2011 revolution that has seen periods of varying political instability. He had written articles critical of the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi under a pseudonym.

He vanished on January 25, the anniversary of the uprising, as police were out in droves to quell protests. He was last heard from entering a metro station as he went to meet a friend.

The manner of Regeni's disappearance prompted accusations of the involvement of security services, something

Cairo has consistently denied

.

es/jr (AFP, Reuters)

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