Militant group Hassm denied an intention to target foreign nationals in Egypt in a statement published on Thursday, one day after the United States Embassy in Cairo issued a warning to US nationals regarding a possible imminent attack by the group.
Hassm asserted that foreign nationals should fear Egyptian authorities instead.
In the warning it issued on May 24, the US embassy wrote, “The Embassy is aware of a potential threat posted on a website by the Hassm Group, a known terrorist organization, suggesting some kind of unspecified action this evening. The Embassy has no further information about this potential threat, but is in contact with Egyptian authorities.”
“We are the resistance and we are not terrorists. There is no need to worry, we are Muslims, not killers. What you should worry about is the coup mercenaries who commit crimes against the Egyptian people everyday. What you should worry about is the coup mercenaries who killed foreigners after they tortured and raped them,” Hassm wrote in the statement published in English.
“Maybe someone advised them to tone it down because the last remark on the subject could’ve been construed as ominous,” wrote Mokhtar Awad on twitter. Awad is a research fellow at George Washington University’s program on extremism.
Hassm rose to prominence over the course of the last year, having launched a number of high-profile attacks, including one on a checkpoint in the Giza district of Haram that left six police officers dead in December. In mid-July of last year, Hassm’s name surfaced when it claimed responsibility for the assassination of Mahmoud Abdel Hamid, the head of one of the security investigations offices in Fayoum.
Hassm has also claimed responsibility for several failed assassination attempts, including that against judge Ahmed Aboul Fotouh in November, Vice Prosecutor General Zakaria Abdel Aziz in September and former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa last August.
Hassm’s operations are localized mostly in Giza, Fayoum and Beni Suef, at the intersection of the Nile Delta and the southern portions of mainland Egypt.
The discourse framing many of the group’s statements represents a departure from that of most militant religious groups in Egypt. For example, in its statement following the bombing of the St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Hassm denied involvement in the attack by ensuring that they would not target regular citizens. Hassm also released a statement of mourning for victims who died when a boat carrying scores of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea capsized off the coast of Rashid.