01/28/2014, 00.00
EGYPT
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Key Interior Ministry official killed as Al-Sisi gets ready to run for office

General Mohamed Saeed, head of the technical department of the Interior Ministry, was gunned down this morning outside his home. The murder took place a few hours before the trial of former president and Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi was set to resume in Cairo. Yesterday, the Armed Forces Council gives Defence Minister General al-Sisi the green light to run for the presidency.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - One day after Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he might run for president, marking a return of the military to the political scene, Egypt is facing a new wave of violence.

This morning, gunmen killed General Mohamed Saeed, a senior official with Egypt's Interior Ministry. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to initial reports, two attackers on a motorbike opened fire against Saeed, head of the technical office of the Interior Ministry, as he was leaving his home located near the police station in Talbia (Giza).

This is the second attack against a senior government official. On 5 September 2013, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim survived the explosion of a bomb planted near his car.

Saeed's assassination comes at a crucial time for Egypt as the Muslim Brotherhood continues to challenge the military, which came back to power three years after Mubarak's fall.

In recent days, 49 people were killed during the demonstrations marking the third anniversary of the Arab Spring. On 24 January, 15 people were killed in attacks in central Cairo.

Today, the Police Academy complex in Cairo saw the start of the second hearing in the trial against Mohammed Morsi, the former Egyptian president and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was deposed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces after 30 million people took to the streets on 30 June 2013.

Along with the former head of state, another 130 Muslim Brotherhood members are on trial after they were arrested during the crackdown launched by the army against the former political movement outlawed by the current government.

The defendants are charged, among other things, of collaborating with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and the Lebanese Shia movement Hizbollah, of organising a mass breakout from of Wadi el Natrun prison during the January 2011 uprising as well as of being involved in the murder of police officers.

Yesterday, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took his first steps towards the presidency after interim President Adly Mansour signed a decree moving forward the presidential election, now set to take place before parliamentary election, thanks to a legal loophole in Article 230 of the constitution.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) accepted ​​his candidacy, elevating the current Defence minister from that rank of colonel general to that of field marshal.

In a statement, the SCAF justified al-Sisi's choice stressing that "The people's trust in Sisi is a call that must be heeded as the free choice of the people."

For their part, supporters of Mr Morsi said on Sunday that the opposition protests showed "the people want the execution of the murderer" and not to "appoint the murderer as president".

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