The Ministry of Interior said in a statement Friday that its forces killed three and arrested 14 alleged members of the militant group Hasm and found explosive substances in their possession in Menoufiya governorate.
The suspects are accused of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, of being involved in aggressive operations (against state security forces and property), and planning to implement other operations after receiving commands from their leaders abroad, according to the ministry’s statement.
According to the statement, the suspects admitted belonging to the Hasm movement and receiving orders to monitor security targets to attack them, in addition to participating in several operations to assassinate police officers and public figures.
Egypt is currently battling several armed groups, concentrated mainly in the north of the Sinai Peninsula. The fighting has intensified since the ouster of Islamist former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Since then, shootings that target police, army officers, and state officials have become a near weekly occurrence in Egypt. There is currently a countrywide campaign against militancy.
Last September, 10 alleged militants were killed and five police officers injured during an exchange of fire in the Agouza neighbourhood of Giza governorate. Further operations had also taken place in July.
Hasm emerged to prominence in early 2016 and the Ministry of Interior has said the group belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The movement claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in statements circulated online. In August 2016, the group said it was behind the failed assassination attempt of former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa. In October of the same year, militants driving a black private vehicle opened fire on army leader Adel Ragaai, assassinating him in front of his residence in Obour City.