The Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday evening that it killed a young militant affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), who is studying at Al-Azhar University when they attempted to arrest him, according to an official statement issued from the ministry.
The statement noted that the operation targeting the militant, Hassan Mohamed Moustafa, came in the context of the ministry’s efforts to chase down “Hasm” and “Lewaa El Thawra” militants—both groups of whom recently declared their responsibility for several attacks against police and army figures in Cairo.
“The National Security Apparatus managed to point out the hiding place of an MB-affiliated militant named Hassan Mohamed Moustafa, who is studying Islamic law at Al-Azhar University. This militant was wanted, according to a case related to militant activity, and the militant was monitored in one of Ismailia governorate’s farms,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the case had been prepared by the National Security Apparatus on the movements of “Hasm” and “Lewaa El Thawra,” and the operation began following the permission from the Higher State Security Prosecution.
However, when police forces assigned to execute the operation approached the targeted militant’s hiding place, the militant opened fire on them, pushing security forces to exchange fire, which led to the militant’s death, the statement noted.
“A machine gun has been found with the militant who’s been killed, and its magazine contained five bullets. Moreover, 12 casings were found at the location of the incident. The Higher State Security is undertaking investigations into the incident,” the statement concluded.
Following the rise of the “Sinai Province” militant group in 2013 and its declaring affiliation to the Islamic State (IS) the following year, militant operations against army and police forces were somewhat restricted to the regions of the Sinai Peninsula; however, in 2016 two militant groups adopting different notions than those of IS started to target police and army figures in Cairo.
“Lewaa El-Thawra” published in September 2016 a video of footage from an attack it executed in August against a security checkpoint in the Menoufiya governorate.
Following this operation, the group executed an unprecedented assassination of the army’s 9th armoured division, brigadier general Adel Ragaei, who was subjected to heavy shooting right outside his residence in Cairo in October 2016.
Though both groups have not declared a clear affiliation, they are believed to be a militant arm of the outlawed MB group, due to the reasons stated to justify their operations.
One of these reasons is retaliation for the assassination of Mohamed Kamal, a senior leader in the MB. Kamal, 61, was killed in his residence at the beginning of October 2016 during a raid conducted by Interior Ministry forces. Kamal was accompanied by a teacher named Yasser Shehata, who was also killed in the incident.
The second group “Hasm” appeared a few months ago in 2016. In August, the group said it was behind the failed assassination attempt of former grand mufti Ali Gomaa.
In October, the group claimed responsibility for an attempt to assassinate assistant general prosecutor Zakareya Abdel Aziz in New Cairo. The attack, executed by a car bomb, left one civilian injured; Abdel Aziz survived the attempt.
Moreover, the group claimed responsibility in December 2016 for a bombing in Giza which claimed the lives of six police personnel and injured another three.