CAIRO, EGYPT — CAIRO, Egypt -- Islamic militants yesterday shot and killed a senior police official in southern Egypt and tried to blow up a bus carrying German tourists, officials said.
The gunmen killed Brig. Gen. Mohammed Shaimi, who was deputy head of security in Asyut Province, and his driver and an assistant in a car ambush in Abu Tig, about 250 miles south of Cairo, the officials said.
General Shaimi, the 16th security officer to be assassinated since March, was the most senior official to be killed since Muslim militants killed the parliamentary speaker, Rifaat Mahgoub, in 1990.
Muslim militants have staged a series of attacks on government officials, police officers, Coptic Christians and foreign tourists in their drive to topple the government of President Hosni Mubarak and replace it with an Islamic state. The violence has devastated tourism, Egypt's leading source of hard currency.
The government has responded with its harshest crackdown since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. More than 120 people have been killed in militant-related violence in the past year.
In the attempted attack on the bus, security officials said, Muslim militants planted five firebombs in the vehicle, which was carrying about 50 German tourists, outside the Citadel, an ancient fortress in Cairo. Police officials said they caught a man after he was seen placing a bag filled with explosive beneath seats near the front door of the bus. They removed the bombs before they could be detonated.