Hassm denies claims that members were killed by police

On Thursday, the militant group denied recent police claims announcing the killing of several Hassm members, referring to these allegations as “mere lies” in a statement.

“We admire our martyrs … and proudly acknowledge them,” said the militant group’s statement. “Members of the movement, individuals and leaders, know exactly who the real martyrs are. We are not concerned with your fake figures,” they added, in reference to the number the Interior Ministry claims to have killed.

During the past two weeks, the Interior Ministry announced four successful operations targeting Hassm, the most recent of which allegedly resulted in the killing of eight militants on Sunday 23 July. This followed the killing of two Hassm members on Friday 21 July in retaliation to a shooting claimed by the group a day earlier, which resulted in the death of one CSF conscript and injured three others. The ministry identified the two deceased militants as 30-year-old Mohamed Abdel Basit Mahmoud and 20-year-old Ahmed Ihab Abdel Aziz Mohamed.

The ministry also announced the deaths of two other alleged Hassm members in a shoot-out on Tuesday 18 July. According to the statement, the car driven by the suspects was identified as one used in an attack on police in May, which killed three officers and injured five others. The statement also claimed that the two killed militants were previously involved in multiple attacks targeting security forces. The ministry announced another similar operation on July 12, claiming that police personnel killed suspected Hassm leader Ahmed Suwailem during a shoot-out in northern Cairo.

Hassm, which became active in July 2016, has claimed responsibility for several operations targeting security forces.

The security campaign against Hassm, widely believed to be in association with the Muslim Brotherhood,  intensified following the group’s assassination of National Security Agency officer Ibrahim Azazy.

The group is estimated to have carried out five assassinations, two attacks using car bombs, five others using explosives as well as two armed attacks. Hassm claimed that their operations have killed 27 and injured 56 others.

Egyptian police and the Armed Forces have been facing increasing attacks in Sinai since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 on the back of popular protests against his rule. The attacks have expanded to the Delta in recent years.