A senior Egyptian army officer was shot dead near his home in an eastern Cairo suburb Saturday.

Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, identified the victim as Brigadier-General Adel Ragai, commander of the army's 9th armored division based at the military base of Dahshour west of Cairo.

It was not immediately clear why Ragai was targeted, but Islamic militants have in the past killed army and police officers in the Sinai Peninsula.

A little-known group called Liwa al-Thawra claimed responsibility for the attack, in a message posted on Twitter.

Jihadists loyal to so-called Islamic State are waging a deadly insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Saturday's shooting came as violence has increased in the turbulent northern part of Sinai, including airstrikes and raids targeting suspected militant hideouts.

Egyptian security forces have fought militants in the Sinai for years, but the insurgency grew deadlier after President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi led the military's 2013 ouster of Egypt's first democratically elected civilian president, Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood.

An Egyptian court confirmed a 20-year prison sentence against Morsi Saturday. It is the first final verdict against Morsi on charges arising from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012.

In June 2016, another court sentenced Morsi to life on charges of "leading a terrorist group," a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was blacklisted by Egyptian authorities in late 2013.


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