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US designates Egypt-based terrorist group HASM

HASM, Harakat Sawa’d Misr, Foreign Terrorist Organization, Egyptian National Security Agency


US designates Egypt-based terrorist group HASM

Kaylee Greenlee

The State Department designated another Islamic militant group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, the department announced Thursday.. Harakat Sawa’d Misr (HASM) or Arms of Egypt Movement, an Egypt-based active terrorist group formed in 2015, had claimed responsibility for assassinating an Egyptian National Security Agency officer and an attack on an embassy in Cairo, according to the State Department.

HASM was also responsible for killing at least 20 people with a car bomb that exploded near a hospital in Cairo, according to the State Department. The group also claimed an attempted assassination of Egypt’s former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood terrorism and allies

Some HASM leaders have been tied to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. A Senior HASM official, Al-Samahi, has previously been involved in attack planning, target selection and managing the group’s finances.

Designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) makes it more difficult for a group to access resources needed to plan and perform acts of terror, according to the State Department. The designation is meant to “expose and isolate” the group and to ensure that they cannot access the U.S. financial system.

All of the HASM’s property and assets in the U.S. will be blocked under the designation, and it is illegal for a US citizen to aid the group in any way, according to the Department of State.

INPUT FROM BLITZ: What is Harakat Sawa’d Misr?

Harakat Sawa’d Misr (Arms of Egypt Movement), also known as HASM is an Islamist militancy group operating in Egypt.

Assassination of Egyptian scholar

On 5 August 2016, the HASM Movement claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt on the former Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa.

On 29 September 2016, the HASM movement attempted to kill Zakaria Abdel Aziz, a senior assistant to Egypt’s top prosecutor, as he was returning home from his office in eastern Cairo. The bomb failed to kill or hurt Aziz and his entourage, though one passerby was injured and taken to hospital.

On 4 November 2016, the HASM movement claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt on local judge Ahmed Aboul Fotouh in Nasr City.

Judge Fotouh was one of three judges who sentenced former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi to twenty years in prison in 2015.

Terrorist movements near Giza pyramid

On 9 December 2016, the HASM Movement claimed responsibility for an attack on a checkpoint on a main road near the Giza pyramid complex on the outskirts of Cairo, which killed six police officers.

The group was accused of being behind the 2019 Cairo explosion, which resulted in 20 deaths and 47 injured, but the group had denied the allegations.

On 11 April 2019, Egyptian government forces reportedly killed 6 members of the group in an armed confrontation, after discovering a plot to plant bombs in Giza, members of the group began shooting at police as they approached them for questioning resulting in a fire fight, after the fight several firearms and bomb making materials were discovered.

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