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.
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.
ls/jlw (Reuters, AFP, AP)