A militant group named “Popular Resistance” released a video claiming responsibility for setting a police van on fire on the Ring Road in Cairo on Friday. The van has been reported to have been burnt by “unknown assailants” during the latest Friday clashes between anti-government protesters and police personnel.
“Popular Resistance” has been active since last year, and has been posting pictures and video footage of usually masked men blocking main high roads in Giza, Alexandria, and Cairo. The footage and pictures also show clashes with security personnel.
Assistant to the Minister of Interior General Abdel Fattah Osman told privately owned channel Al-Mehwar Friday that the ministry is “monitoring all what is publically posted on social media outlets, and is taking all legal procedures to arrest those administering these pages.”
He described the pages “as inciting against Egypt”.
“Police forces have closed 123 similar pages which are inciting against the state. Those who claimed responsibility of torching the police van will be arrested soon,” Osman added.
There are a number of Facebook pages carrying the same name and claiming similar strategies in different governorates, but there is no proof of coordination between the groups.
The pages also claim to “monitor” police personnel, by publishing videos and pictures of officers on duty, and responsibility for planting homemade bombs in front of police stations.
Osman added that “most of these elements are university students whom the Muslim Brotherhood group uses to launch a psychological warfare to terrorise citizens, after losing the ability to mobilise”.
Egypt has designated the Brotherhood as a “terrorist group”, and its members are subject to a current crackdown. The group’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), was banned by court decision last year.
Many suspects have lately been arrested for “inciting against the police and the army”, using social media websites.
Last August a group name “Helwan Brigades” posted a video featuring a dozen men holding what appear to be firearms. One of the men speaks directly towards the camera, delivering the group’s statement as pedestrians walk by in the periphery of the frame.
The Ministry of Interior announced that it arrested some members of the group.
Since the forced dispersal of the pro-Morsi encampments on August 2013, a number of anti-government militant groups have claimed responsibility of attacks against police personnel, judges, public institutions, and security facilities.