Revolutionary Punishment | العقاب الثوري
Other Names: None
Status: Inactive (the group appears to have dissolved or reconstituted as another entity)
Location: Revolutionary Punishment’s claimed activity was concentrated in Fayoum, Alexandria, Beni Suef, and Sharqia governorates. The group also claimed attacks in Assiut, Aswan, Beheira, Cairo, Damietta, Giza, Ismailia, Luxor, Monofeya, Port Said, Qalyubia, and Qena.
Characteristics: Revolutionary Punishment was part of the (Allied) Popular Resistance Movement. This alliance includes local actors and groups across Egypt that have typically utilized low levels of violence in order to combat the Egyptian security apparatus and those they deem supportive of “the coup,” referencing the military-backed ouster of former President Muhammad Morsi.
Revolutionary Punishment’s operations favored use of explosives, with about 46 percent of attacks employing improvised explosive devices. Another 38 percent of Revolutionary Punishment’s attacks were shootings.
More than three-quarters of the Revolutionary Punishment’s activities targeted police or security collaborators. Unlike the Popular Resistance Movement, commercial interests constituted only a very small portion of the Revolutionary Punishment’s targeted entities (less than five percent, compared to a 20-25 percent for PRM).
Revolutionary Punishment launched a blog in April 2015, on which its members broadcast propaganda and attack claims. Posts included detailed accounts of attacks, infographics, and videos with slick special effects. Revolutionary Punishment has been dormant online since January 2016.
Recent leadership: Unknown
Background: Revolutionary Punishment announced its existence on the fourth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution. The group’s first known claimed attack was on February 10, 2015, and targeted the First Montazah Police Station in Alexandria, leaving seven injured. While the group claimed to have carried out a total of 151 attacks as of January 25, 2016, TIMEP has documented only 98 individual claims.
Ideology: Early on, Revolutionary Punishment’s discourse was best described as religiously nationalist, as its ideological platform generally revolved around nationalist causes, rather than the jihadist mission of a unified caliphate or fighting worldwide oppression of Muslims, similar to other groups of the Allied Popular Resistance Movement. While there were indications of ties between the alliance and elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, the veracity and extent of these links remains unclear.
Revolutionary Punishment’s ideological platform may have shifted over time, however, as its media took on some distinctly jihadist undertones (a trend also reflected in the content of other alliance members). For example, the group’s video Confessions of Traitors, released in June 2015, adopted the same formulaic progression of many videos produced by Wilayat Sinai: an introduction featuring a nasheed (an Islamic chant), footage portraying the brutality of security forces, a nervous informant’s confession, a warning of the consequences of collaboration, and finally execution. In January 2016, Revolutionary Punishment claimed an attack in Giza that the Islamic State had also claimed. Combined with a shift in messaging, this suggested a number of possibilities: operational coordination, membership overlap, ideological realignment to a jihadist model, or perhaps merely opportunism. Possibly evidence of this shift, the group went off the grid only a few days after the Giza attack.
Notable Attacks: Revolutionary Punishment has claimed at least 98 attacks in 16 governorates between January 2015 and January 2016, with more than half carried out in Fayoum governorate. While Revolutionary Punishment’s media puts these numbers significantly higher, with at least 151 attacks claimed over the same period, nearly a third of the attacks are either undocumented or their claims are inaccessible.
On May 1, 2015, Revolutionary Punishment claimed responsibility for an assault on former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly’s villa in Sheikh Zayed, which included an exchange with security guards.
On June 24, 2015, the group released a video showing the confession and execution of a civilian, Walid Ahmed Ali, whom they claimed had collaborated with security forces, their first execution of a civilian. At least four other civilians have died in attacks claimed by the Revolutionary Punishment.
On July 14, 2015, the group claimed the fatal shooting of Sharqia city councilman, Attiya Harouni. Revolutionary Punishment justified the attack on the basis that Harouni was helping the police and military fight the Muslim Brotherhood.
On January 22, 2016, both Revolutionary Punishment and the Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for a high-profile attack on security forces at an apartment in Giza. The attack left seven policemen and three civilians dead, as well as 13 others injured. It is notable that neither group denied the involvement of the other. This is Revolutionary Punishment’s last known activity.