A low-ranking officer, Diab Abdel-Latif, was shot dead in Beni Suef by unknown assailants on Tuesday morning, according to the Ministry of Interior.
Abdel-Latif, 38, was on his way home when he was ambushed by assailants on a motorbike. Another passerby, a retired police officer named Mohamed Khater, was shot and wounded and is currently in the hospital.
A statement from the ministry said that teams from the Investigation Bureau office are examining the area of the ambush. According to state media, preliminary investigations reveal the attackers hid in the agricultural areas around the sides of the Beni Suef ring road.
No militant group has declared responsibility for the attack yet. Sinai Province and Ajnad Misr are the two most active paramilitary groups in Egypt. Their techniques include assassinating police and army personnel followed by releasing online statements, usually circulated by alleged supporters.
Militant insurgency has seen a rise in the past two years since the military-led ousting of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and the ban on the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.
Security officials have been taking precautionary measures to avoid being spotted in public wearing uniform such as changing into civilian clothes after leaving their work place, changing plates of military cars to civilian plates, and avoiding the use of public transportation.
Despite these precautions, attacks against security members have been occurring at an almost monthly basis, affecting lower-ranking police officers in particular.
The most high-profile assassination was the assassination of National Security Colonel Wael Tahoon last year when he was shot dead in his car last April by unknown assailants in front of his house in the district of Ain Shams. A conscript accompanying him in the car was also killed in the shooting.
General Hany Abdel-Latif, then-spokesman of the ministry, said Tahoon was targeted “due to his high position in the National Security apparatus, and in the investigation bureau”.
Because of their controversial investigation methods which can include torture as some human rights organisations have documented, security personnel in the National Security apparatus and the investigation bureau have became targets for militants.
In many of their statements, paramilitary groups cite the “mistreatment and torture of detainees” as well as “violations against female prisoners” as reasons for attacking officers.
In a similar incident in February 2014, masked gunmen shot National Security officer Major Mohamed Eid when he was on his way to his car. He died shortly after from his injuries.
Officer Mohamed Mabrouk, in charge of the counterterrorism file at National Security, was also assassinated on 17 September 2013. In addition, General Mohamed Al-Saied, head of the minister of interior’s technical office and aide to former Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, was shot dead outside his home in Haram on 28 January. Ibrahim has also survived an assassination attempt on 5 September 2013. Twenty-two people were wounded in the attack.
The Egyptian state and the Ministry of Interior have frequently accused the Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated groups for being responsible for the attacks on security officials.