CAIRO: Police forces reportedly killed on Monday a man believed to be the main suspect in the violence that occurred in Ain Shams last month, in which Al-Dostour journalist Mayada Ashraf was killed.
“The news that came in today about the killing of one of her murderers assuages my grief,” Mayada’s father, Ashraf Saad, told The Cairo Post on Monday.
National Security authorities had detected the suspect’s location, but the suspect reportedly opened fire, which eventually led to his shooting and death, Youm7 reported.
Al-Masry Al-Youm also reported the death of another man who was with the suspect during a chase, and the arrest of two others in possession of arms. The main suspect who was killed, was accused along with a few others of committing violence and shooting people during the Ain Shams protests on April 28. Three people including Ashraf died that day.
According to the Qalyubia security chief, the suspects are affiliated with militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Youm7 reported. The group previously claimed responsibility for a series of attacks mainly targeting police and military officers, which also took the lives of several citizens.
On March 31, the police arrested three other men accused of killing 23-year-old Ashraf, along with killing Christian Mary Sameh George and a child named Sherif Abdel Raouf, ONews Agency reported.
The death of the two women, Ashraf and George, in particular had sparked public debate. On the one hand, Ashraf’s case raised concerns and questions over the rights of journalists to protection, which later led to bulletproof vests being provided by the state to the Press Syndicate. Some journalists rejected the idea, saying they would be easily spotted targets.
The official report issued by the Forensic Medicine Authority said Ashraf died as a result of a gunshot to the head. Witnesses, including a fellow journalist who was with Ashraf during the incident, said the shots had come from the side of security forces, toward protesters.
On the other hand, George’s death set off anger among the Coptic community, who complained that state authorities and the media had not accorded much importance to her death, in reference to their issues as a minority group in Egypt.
In George’s case, fingers did not point at police forces. During her funeral, people referred to her as a “martyr of terrorism” and accused extremists of killing her, raising slogans against “terrorists.”
The Ministry of Interior issued an official statement on Monday, declaring the formation of a “terrorist network” specialized in spreading chaos in five districts in Cairo, including Ain Shams, and charged people accused of the murders of Ashraf and George.
According to a police report, a mob targeted Christians in the neighborhood of Ain Shams, burning and destroying their shops and cars. After the police raided homes, they found guns, grenades and live ammunition.
Saad added that he is following up on his daughter’s case and he trusts that the judicial system will be able to avenge her death.
Additional reporting by Mahmoud Abdel Rady and Ibrahim Ahmed.