Parliament slams Interior Ministry over assaults on political figures

The head of Parliament's Defense and National Security Committee criticized the Interior Ministry's performance Thursday in an emergency session held to address assault on political figures and MPs over the last week.

Seeing as people in the streets do not feel safer, the security situation in the country has not improved, said committee head Abbas Mekhaimar, who called for the situation to be resolved immediately.

He noted that assaults on ordinary citizens have increased recently, emphasizing that the security vacuum affects everyone, not only MPs.

Major General Ahmed Helmy, head of the Criminal Investigation Department at the Interior Ministry, said during the session that assaults on MPs and presidential hopefuls like Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh have criminal, not political, motives.

Helmy said his ministry is responsible for the security of each citizen. He rejected accusations that the ministry has not properly carried out its duties, and said it is not fair to claim that the security situation has not improved since last year. Actually, he emphasized, the Interior Ministry's performance has improved a lot since then.

People’s Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny called for the meeting Wednesday evening in reaction to a series of attacks on politicians over the last week, with some being reported as assassination attempts.

On Tuesday, a group of masked assailants attempted to kill Nour Party MP Anwar al-Balkimy while he traveled from Cairo to Alexandria, the party said. Balkimy was severely injured and had to undergo facial surgery. The attackers also robbed him of LE100,000.

Earlier in the week, presidential hopeful Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh and his driver and campaign staffer were assaulted in a highway robbery many believe was politically motivated.

Freedom and Justice Party MP Hassan al-Brince also survived a car crash on Friday on the highway leading from Beheira to Alexandria. The party’s Alexandria branch said later that day that the collision was an assassination attempt, since Brince had earlier received death threats after submitting a parliamentary report recommending former President Hosni Mubarak be transferred to the hospital at Tora Prison.

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