In Egypt, will we ever stop trembling?

I developed a strong personal bond with the man who was recently assassinated. Here is his story and why he is more than just a name in a news bulletin

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

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According to what has leaked during his trial, Mursi insinuated that “the assassinations didn’t start yet,” and a few days later a new murder was committed, targeting the person who was considered a main witness against Mohammad Mursi at the escape event, and participated in capturing their strong man Khairat al-Shater. I read the news on one of the websites, it reads: An officer from the National Security was murdered by gunshots from unknown armed persons on his way to work, called Colonel Mohammad Mabrouk. I looked twice at the sentence and couldn’t believe it. I read it over and over, and cross checked the information on numerous news sites, yes it’s Mabrouk, not “called” Mohammad Mabrouk. He is the noble man who loved life, full of enthusiasm and patriotism. He was one of the close men to the General Ahmad Raafat, the head of State Security who died while working in his office, he was a man of rare breed, and will never be duplicated. General Raafat gathered around him a group of his own, who were considered as one of his many reasons of success. These men were in charge of following the activities of religious extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood group, and he led the initiatives to contain the violence initiated by the Islamic Jamaa first, then the Jihadist groups.

I developed a strong personal bond with him and his team for many years when I was following and analyzing the Islamic groups, we prepared a set of ads that were not broadcast, and maybe they would have changed things if they were. I used to meet General Raafat every now and then, and Colonel Mabrouk was one of his men, and was part of the team that follows the activities of the Muslim brotherhood. The group remained almost united after the death of Ahmad Raafat, and my relationship continued with them, Mabrouk was always keen to keep communicating with me during the past years after the incidents of January and the dissolution of the State Security, and he was transferred out of the apparatus after most of its members were discharged. I believe what one his relatives quoted him saying after the Brotherhood assumed power: “The traitors are governing.” He used to remind me in his phone calls of what “al-hajj” – the nickname of General Ahmad Raafat – used to say, as he was always threatening of the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood and he complained about the mistake of the regime in dealing with them. His will to communicate and exchange ideas and remind me of previous situations, and all the talk we did, was one of the bright moments in the darkness that dominated Egypt in the past two years. So Mohammad Mabrouk isn’t to me a person “Called” Mohammad Mabrouk but he represents a glorious chapter of our glorious history, rich in patriotic stances. It is hard and particularly painful to pay farewell to someone of his caliber, especially when he was killed in cold blood.

Who is responsible?

While some voices attempted to defend the Muslim Brotherhood and deny their responsibility in the assassination of Mabrouk, the history of the group and the threats of their man, Mursi, proved the opposite. Since the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood everybody was expecting them to go this low in the confrontation; they have always committed assassination and scores of terror crimes. These acts have been confirmed and they have never denied them, although they tried to embellish and claim committing them out of patriotism. They are famous for two types of assassination; the assassination to stop someone and the assassination of revenge, as the notorious writer Tharwat Al-Kharbawi describes it, he who was a member of the group. For instance, the assassination of Nakrashi was out of revenge, as he had dissolved the group and confiscated their assets, but the assassination of Colonel Mohammad Mabrouk aimed at putting an end to his activities against them, because he was going to witness how Mursi escaped from the Natroun Valley prison, he was the only witness to Mursi’s contacts with foreign intelligence services and with Hamas movement, so they deemed it to be necessary to kill Mabrouk to stop him from delivering his testimony.

He wasn’t killed by accident, especially as he was in his private car, in civilian clothes, and nothing indicated who he was or where he works

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The assassination of Mohammad Mabrouk was performed with extreme professionalism as the assassins didn’t leave any trace in the crime scene, and it is clear that the assassin wasn’t a first timer and that he was well trained. There was a similarity between the assassination of Mohammad Abou Chacra and Mohammad Mabrouk, they were both unknown, using nicknames, and they were completely ignored by the Muslim Brotherhood, except by their leaders, and those who managed to fetch classified documents of the State Security Apparatus when the Muslim Brotherhood was governing. Also, it is worth remembering what was said then that the main mission of al-Beltagy during Mursi’s rule was to control the State Security and the Ministry of Interior, without neglecting the fact that some officers fell in the Brotherhood trap and decided to sell their souls to the Brotherhood for the sake of power.

The assassination of Mabrouk proves that he was under supervision for a long time, especially as he was assassinated at 10:30 pm, which is when he leaves home to go to work. He wasn’t killed by accident, especially as he was in his private car, in civilian clothes, and nothing indicated who he was or where he works. Actually, that is part of his job; don’t let your neighbor know who you are.

On the same day of Mabrouk’s assassination, I published my column about the so called dialogue invitation of the Brotherhood, calling it their new trick. The assassination proved what I said: that the aim is to change the status quo and distract attention.

While I am concluding my column, I see on TV that a hand grenade targeted the police in Boulaq, in the center of Cairo, and that a suicide attack claims the lives of ten soldiers who were taking the bus near the border with Gaza, and I can imagine the feeling of gloating among the Brotherhood and their supporters.

May Allah have mercy on Mabrouk and all the martyrs, wishing that their blood will strengthen the hearts of those in power positions, and empower them so their hands stop shaking.

This article was first published in al-Masry al-Youm on Nov. 24, 2013.


Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of "Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak," a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy)

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