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Egypt accuses Hamas and Brotherhood over death of top prosecutor

Interior minister says assassination of Hisham Barakat last year was ordered by the Muslim Brotherhood in close coordination with Hamas
The scene of the bombing in which Barakat died (AFP)

Egypt has accused the Palestinian group Hamas and the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood of involvement in last year's killing of the country's top prosecutor Hisham Barakat.

"This plot was carried out on the orders of the Muslim Brotherhood ... in close coordination with Hamas, which played a very important role in the assassination of the chief prosecutor from start to finish," Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar said on Sunday.

Ghaffar said the attack last June was ordered by Turkey-based leaders of the Brotherhood, and accused Hamas of helping with training and explosives. Ghaffar added that prosecutors had ordered the arrest of six members of the Brotherhood over Barakat's death.

"The prosecution has accused the suspects of several crimes including premeditated murder of the late public prosecutor ... possessing and using explosives, and joining a terrorist group," MENA reported.

Ghaffar said that no member of Hamas had directly participated in Barakat's murder. "But they were involved in the planning and training of those who carried out the assassination," he said. "Some Bedouins helped the members of the cell enter the Gaza Strip from Sinai." 

Hisham Barakat died last year (AFP)

Barakat, 64, was killed when his convoy was bombed near his home in Cairo last June. His assassination came after an Islamic State (IS) affiliate, "Sinai Province," called for attacks on the country's judiciary.

The blast left several cars smouldering and shattered the windows of nearby houses.

However, Barakat’s driver, Nasser Rifaat, who was slightly injured in the attack, told investigators soon after that the prosecutor died after being hit by a car in the aftermath of the explosion.

According to Rifaat, Barakat was conscious and walking after the bomb detonated.

Egyptian broadcaster Ahmed Moussa, known to be close to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, at the time named a former officer in the Egyptian army as the prime suspect.

The government ordered a media blackout on the case soon after.

Cairo regularly accuses Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, of supporting attacks in Egypt.