Location: Beheira, Beni Suef, Cairo, Damietta, Fayoum, Giza, and Qalyubia provinces
Characteristics: All of Hassm’s attacks have been directed at targets symbolic of the regime or security forces, with the group conducting extensive preoperational surveillance which the group often publicizes in its claims of responsibility. Hassm’s claimed activity has killed at least 15 security personnel and a civilian, and has injured more than two dozen people.
Out of the 15 attacks claimed by Hassm, eight involved shootings and seven involved the use of explosives.
Recent leadership: Although the leading figures in the group remain unknown, Hassm has eulogized the deaths of two members, Muhammad Dashisha and Ahmed Muhammad Sweilim, who were killed during counter-terror operations in December 2016 and July 2017, respectively.
Background: Hassm announced its existence on July 16, 2016, when it carried out an attack in Tamiya, Fayoum, which left two policemen dead and one injured. Since then, the group continues to carry out attacks and issue public statements and videos online. On July 17, 2017, the group, marking its one-year anniversary, released an overview of the attacks it had carried out to date.
While the group has not announced any official ideological position, Hassm’s views against the military and attacks against Egypt’s security apparatus may suggest a more nationally bound agenda that does not seek to implement an Islamic caliphate, as is the aim of groups such as the Islamic State’s affiliates in Sinai and mainland Egypt. With this agenda, in addition to the use of Quranic quotes and Islamic claims, Hassm has exhibited a somewhat religious-nationalist ideology.
The group has generally targeted those it describes as enablers of the regime. Hassm has highlighted the role that the justice system has played in cases of forced disappearance, extrajudicial killings, the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, evictions and clashes on al-Warraq island, and Egypt’s dire economic situation.
Hassm has praised the actions of other groups, including Liwaa al-Thawra.
After the U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a security message on May 24, 2017, warning of possible Hassm activity, the group released its own statement addressed to “foreigners in Egypt,” saying that Hassm is a “resistance” movement and not a “terrorist” one.
Notable Attacks: On July 21, 2017, Hassm claimed responsibility for its 15th attack since its inception in July 2016. The group attacked police vehicles near Fayoum, killing a policeman and injuring police conscripts. Two weeks earlier, the group also claimed responsibility for assassinating Captain Ibrahim Azazi. Previously, Hassm claimed responsibility for attacking a security patrol in Cairo on May 2 at the intersection of Waha and Ring Roads, killing three.
Among Hassm’s first claimed attacks were two assassination attempts that targeted prominent Egyptian officials. On August 5, 2016, two masked gunmen opened fire on former Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa as he walked towards a mosque in Sixth of October City for Friday prayers. Gomaa was unharmed, but one of his security detail sustained injuries. Nearly eight weeks later, on September 29, the group attempted to assassinate Deputy Prosecutor-General Zakaria Abdel Aziz, using what appears to have been a car bomb. The operatives targeted Abdel Aziz’s motorcade as it left his home in New Cairo’s Fifth Settlement, but the attack was unsuccessful, with one bystander sustaining minor injuries.