An Egyptian police officer was killed Thursday in a mission targeting militants involved with a high profile national security assassination earlier this week, Al-Ahram news website reported.
Security sources said Captain Ahmed Samir Mahmoud was killed in an exchange of fire with suspected militants near a hideout. National Security and special operations officers were also on the mission in Qaloubiya province outside of Cairo to the north.
Islamic militants have waged a high level insurgency against military and police personnel since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi 3 July. Attacks have mainly been focused in Northern Sinai, but have also been slowly shifting to the capital and other provinces.
Earlier this week, a senior officer responsible for investigating Islamist suspects, including Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, was shot seven times in a drive-by assassination. Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Mabrouk was killed in front of his house in eastern district of Nasr City in Cairo.
Initial investigations showed Mahmoud, killed Thursday, was shot in the neck at short distance and instantly killed. Funeral prayers were held in a local mosque at noon.
Meanwhile, a high security alert has been declared in Qaloubiya province in anticipation of further incidents.
Another major assault took place early Wednesday when a bomb-laden car blew up near an army convoy carrying off-duty soldiers on the road between Al-Arish and Rafah in North Sinai. The suicide attack killed 11 and injured 37.
The Egyptian presidency, in reaction, announced a three-day period of mourning for the "martyrs of the nation." Defence Minister General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was present for the arrival of the slain bodies, comforting their families and vowing to "fight back."
"Everyone who used weapons against the military and the police is a terrorist who want to crush his own people. We are there to fight this and be killed for this aim," El-Sisi said.
Dozens of militants have been killed since the army began a campaign to flush out "terrorists" and seize or destroy arms caches in the Sinai region.