Egypt has arrested six alleged Muslim Brotherhood members in connection with the killing of Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat last year and ordered their detention for 15 days, a judicial source and the state news agency said on Sunday.
Barakat, 64, was killed in a car bomb attack in Cairo in June 2015. He was the most senior state official to die at the hands of militants since the toppling of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in 2013. There was no confirmed claim of responsibility.
“The prosecution has accused the suspects of several crimes including premeditated murder of the late public prosecutor to carry out an act of terrorism, possessing and using explosives, and joining a terrorist group,” MENA reported.
A judicial source told Reuters news agency that six men had been detained but did not give details on their affiliation or charges they faced.
Judges and other senior officials have been targeted by radical Islamists opposed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and angered by prison and death sentences imposed on members of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and other government opponents.
The Egyptian judiciary says that it is independent of the government and military, but some judges have been accused of bias after handing down lengthy jail terms and mass death sentences.
The attack last June cast doubt on Egypt’s ability to contain an Islamist insurgency that has been targeting higher-profile targets.
Egypt is grappling with a Sinai-based insurgency that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the Sisi, then military chief, ousted the Brotherhood’s Mursi after mass protests against his rule. The Brotherhood was soon after banned and designated as a terrorist organisation. The group says its peaceful and that it rejects violence.
The most active militant group is Sinai Province, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, the jihadist group that has seized control of significant areas of Iraq and Syria.