Egypt’s state prosecutor Hisham Barakat has been killed after his motorcade was hit by a bomb blast in Heliopolis district, the nation’s capital.
“He has passed away,” Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zind told the AFP news agency at the hospital where Barakat had been taken following the bombing on Monday.
As Egypt’s top prosecutor, Barakat oversaw the acquittal of former president Hosni Mubarak [EPA]
Medical sources have confirmed the report to Al Jazeera.
An earlier report said that Barakat had suffered from “internal bleeding” and that he had undergone surgery at al-Nozha hospital in the Egyptian capital.
Two civilians and two police officers were also reportedly injured in the attack, which took place in the Heliopolis district of Cairo, outside a military college.
Witnesses said the bombing was strong enough to shatter glasses in nearby store fronts and homes. A large plume of black smoke and several smouldering cars were seen near a row of apartment buildings.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. The now outlawed group Muslim Brotherhood has condemned the killing.
In an interview with Al Jazeera from London, Maha Azzam, chief of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council, said the assassination is “a serious blow to the security situation in Cairo.”
“The message is clear, this regime is a liability” to the security of the country, she said, warning that the government could carry out “further repression” against the opposition.
Barakat was appointed prosecutor-general by Egypt’s then interim-President Adly Mansour in July 2013, shortly after the military ousted the country’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi.
The new state prosecutor then set about freezing the assets of 15 prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and ordered the arrest of the group’s leader,
Mohamed Badie, on charges of inciting violence outside the Republican Guard headquarters where 51 people were killed.
The country has since sentenced Morsi, and hundred of his supporters, to death, in mass trials that have been condemned by rights groups.
Barakat also oversaw the acquittal of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
Judges and other officials have increasingly been targeted by armed groups opposed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and apparently angered by hefty prison sentences imposed on members of Muslim Brotherhood.
There are an estimated 40,000 political prisoners in Egypt.
Last month, Egypt’s affilliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group urged followers to attack judges, opening a new front in the world’s most populous Arab state.
Earlier in the same month, three judges were shot dead in the northern Sinai city of al-Arish.
Source: Al Jazeera