The militant group Lewaa al-Thawra claimed Egyptian security forces have not arrested or killed any of its members in recent months, in an interview on Monday.
No such incidents have occurred since four members were killed in March, the spokesperson for the group, Salah Eddin Youssef, stated during the second part of an interview with Qaaf, a Facebook page that reports on Egyptian militant groups.
The first part of the interview was published on July 31.
Youssef told Qaaf the group is preparing “secure recruitment tactics to include all those who desire to tread the path of jihad and resistance.” He called on young people wishing to join them to train in preparation before they are recruited.
Although he acknowledged that security campaigns have impacted the group, Youssef said this has made members more experienced in dealing with them and has strengthened their resolve to continue operations.
Lewaa al-Thawra is an Egypt-based militant group that was formed in August 2016, three years after the violent dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo. The group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on security personnel since then.
Youssef denied any official organizational links to the Muslim Brotherhood in the first part of the Qaaf interview. In the second part, published on Monday, he referred to Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, and influential Taliban leader Abu Mossab al-Soury, as two of the group’s ideological points of reference.
He stressed that Lewaa al-Thawra does not consider the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to be its end-goal. “Even before Sisi and Mubarak, the state enacted a coup against Egypt’s interests and national identity,” he said, affirming that their aim is to “get rid of the military regime that has ruled Egypt for more than six decades.” He added that the group believes in the need to develop political, media, religious and popular fronts, as well as militant action, in order to achieve what he described as “real change.”
Youssef dismissed allegations that the group is connected to an internal rift within the Muslim Brotherhood, stating that Lewaa al-Thawra is not an extension of “any new or old entities,” and firmly denied any links to militant group Hassm, which is widely believed to be affiliated with the Brotherhood.
The group announced its first operation in August 2016, following an attack on a checkpoint in Monufiya governorate which killed two police personnel. The assassination of Brigadier General Adel Ragaei, chief of the Armed Forces’ ninth armored division, in November, was Lewaa al-Thawra’s most significant operation to date.
Alongside the Islamic State’s Egypt affiliate, the Province of Sinai, prominent local militant organizations like Lewaa al-Thawra and Hassm have increased their operations since the 2013 ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. While little information is available on the nature of these organizations, state figures often claim they are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.