An Egyptian court declared on Saturday Hasm militant movement, which is believed to be linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Islamist group, as a terrorist organisation. Hasm claimed responsibility for a number of attacks that killed several policemen in Egypt, yet it condemned December’s church blast that killed at least 28 Copt worshipers, saying it targets security men not civilians, Xinhua news agency reported.
Egypt has been fighting a rising wave of anti-government terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the army removed former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Later security crackdown on Morsi’s loyalists left about 1,000 of them dead and blacklisted his Brotherhood group as a terrorist organisation.
Most of the attacks were claimed by a militant group located in Egypt’s North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip and loyal to the regional Islamic State (IS) militant group. However, a few of them, including a blast in December that killed six policemen, were claimed by Hasm movement, which is believed to be sponsored by the Brotherhood despite the latter’s denial.
Over the past three years, security campaigns in Egypt killed about 1,300 militants and arrested a similar number of suspects as part of the country’s “anti-terror war”, declared by former Army Chief and current President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi following Morsi’s ouster. On Friday, during an army-organised symposium, the head of the Egyptian military intelligence said a massive security operation killed 500 terrorists in Sinai since it started in September 2015.