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US citizen dies in Egyptian prison

CAIRO — The Egyptian government said a US citizen it detained in the Sinai Peninsula last month for violating curfew was found hanged Sunday in his jail cell, the second foreigner to die in detention in recent weeks.

The US Embassy in Cairo confirmed that an American citizen held prisoner in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia died from an apparent suicide and that it was in contact with Egyptian authorities. It had no further comment.

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In Washington, the State Department identified the American as James Lunn and said US consular officials in Cairo were informed of his arrest on Aug. 28, a day after the Egyptians detained him. Consular officials had been in touch with Egyptian authorities and Lunn since, it said.

A statement by the Egyptian Interior Ministry, which is in charge of police, said Lunn was detained on Aug. 27 during ‘‘combing operations’’ that followed a car bombing outside a police station in the turbulent northern region of Sinai. It said a computer and maps of ‘‘important installations’’ were found in his possession. It did not identify the facilities.

Lunn, it continued, was remanded in police custody and was remanded again for 30 days by a court on Saturday. He was found hanged on Sunday at the door of the bathroom of his cell block in an Ismailia police station. Lunn had a visit from a US consulate official last Tuesday, the statement said.

A coroner has been appointed to determine the cause of death.

Security officials earlier said Lunn was a retired US Army officer, a claim denied by the State Department.

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