Two senior Egyptian army officers were killed by unidentified assailants early Friday morning in eastern Cairo in two separate incidents as authorities arrested about 107 Islamists ahead of a planned protest, the military reportedly said. Two soldiers were also injured in the incident, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency.
An army general was shot dead after assailants opened fire in Abu Zaabal district, MENA said, citing an army statement. The identities of the assailants, who were reportedly driving a vehicle without a license plate, were not revealed. Authorities also reportedly said that they fled immediately after opening fire. Another officer was also killed in the gunfire.
The army and police in the region have reportedly stepped up security measures ahead of the Muslim Brotherhood group’s anti-government protests. Seven bombs were also dismantled around the country, Hani Abdel-Latif, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said, according to The Associated Press.
The protesters had reportedly planned to carry out “violent acts and vandalism” in Cairo, local media reports said. The protests have been called by the ultraconservative Salafi group with "Muslim Youth Uprising" as the theme of the demonstrations.
Several high-ranking police and military officials have been killed in attacks since the military's ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi last year. And, Friday's protests are reportedly being supported by the Muslim Brotherhood group, which has warned supporters to avoid violent confrontations.
"There are credible news and reports about heinous plots by intelligence agencies, police and their paid thugs to commit massacres against revolutionary protesters and the Egyptian people at large," the group reportedly said in a statement. "We call on all anti-coup protesters to give the criminals no opportunity to use violence or spill Egyptian blood."