Security forces arrested several suspects on Saturday in the failed assassination attempt of former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram. Some of the arrested are students at Al-Azhar University, who allegedly adopted extremist ideologies, the newspaper stated.
The security cameras recordings have also been examined, depicting the assailants. However, they were wearing masks.
Late on Friday, a local militant group called “Hasm” (which translates to decisiveness) claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement, saying that Gomaa is a ”sheikh of hypocrisy” that supports military regimes. Although the militant group does not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, several media outlets still insist on labeling it as a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group.
After Gomaa survived the assassination attempt, media outlets promptly jumped to conclusions that the assailants belonged to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
In a press statement, Gomaa said that the Brotherhood is behind the assassination attempt, and also added that all radical groups are derived from the Brotherhood. However, two leaders in the Brotherhood denounced Gomaa’s statements, saying that he used the assassination attempt to propagate particular political ideologies.
Despite the Brotherhood leaders’ condemnation of the assassination attempt, Salafi leader Sameh Abdel Hamid condemned the Brotherhood for gloating over the incident. He further added that if the Brotherhood truly condemned the act, they should have released a statement instead of staying silent.
Following the failed assassination attempt, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said that this was an attempt to ruin the happiness of Egyptians on the first anniversary of new Suez Canal inauguration.
Assailants opened fire on Friday on Gomaa while he was walking towards a mosque to attend Friday prayers in 6th of October City. The crossfire between the assailants and Gomaa’s guards only resulted in a light injury to one of Gomaa’s bodyguards.
Gomaa is famous for his pro-regime stances and his support for the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Controversy erupted recently regarding Gomaa’s religious opinions, including his approval of hymen reconstruction operations and his statements on informal marriage, saying that it doesn’t contradict Islamic doctrines.