On March 25th Egyptian authorities raided an apartment building in the Beheira governorate region killing 6 people linked to Hasm, an armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood that was put on the U.S. Department of Treasuries’ in January of 2018 and the United Kingdom’s (UK) proscribed terrorist organizations list in December of 2017. Several weapons were confiscated during the raid including six explosive devices, and four safes containing ammunition.
Hasm, a group founded by Mohamad Kamal who was a former council member for the Muslim Brotherhood, was constructed after the Brotherhood was ousted from power in 2013. In addition to Hasm, Kamal structured multiple terror cells like Ajnad Misr and Liwa al-Thawra. These groups targeted security forces on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood’s interests. But in October of 2016 Kamal was killed during a firefight with security forces in Cairo.
In 2016-17 Hasm carried out multiple attacks on Egyptian security personnel. The group had first announced its creation in July of 2016 after an attack in the Fayoum Governate. Then, in December of 2016 6 police officers were killed due to the explosion of a road side bomb at a police checkpoint. In October of 2017, 16 police officers were killed and 13 others were injured after attempting to raid a “desert hideout” 84 miles west of Cairo.
Hasm’s latest attack occurred on March 24th when the motorcade of Major-General Mostafa al-Nemr, the head security chief of Alexandria, was attacked. The motorcade was traveling through the neighborhood of Rushdi when a bomb under a car exploded killing two soldiers. The interior ministry said Brotherhood leader Bassem Gad was responsible for ordering the attack on al-Nemir’s convoy.
The attack came just days before Egypt’s 2018 presidential election which was held from March 26th-28th. Egypt has been beefing up security nationwide ahead of the election. In March of 2018 the Islamic State (IS) published announcements on a website called Akhbar al-Muslimeen warning the people of Egypt to stay away from election centers. IS also stated that if your home is adjacent to an election center, you should leave it temporarily.
The Islamic State has had relative success in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, but on February 9th, 2018, the Egyptian military launched an offensive against the Islamic State and have killed 105 IS fighters since the beginning of the operation. A military spokesman said that there is no time limit for the operation and it will conclude when it achieves its goal(s).
The Egyptian government should continue to target the Hasm Movement as their attacks continue throughout the nation. The designations from the UK and US will help Egyptian government officials in their fight against the movement.