An Islamist militant group known as Hassm (Arabic for “determination”) claimed responsibility for the detonation of an explosive device in the Talbeya neighborhood of Giza on Friday, which killed six members of the police force and injured three others stationed at a checkpoint in the area.
The bomb exploded before Friday noon prayers outside the Salam Mosque on Haram Street, less than 10 kilometers from the Giza Pyramids. Egypt’s Interior Ministry reported that the explosion resulted in the deaths of two commissioned officers, one enlisted officer and three conscripts. Three other conscripts were injured in the blast, the ministry added.
A statement attributed to the militant group circulated on social media networks claiming that Hassm operatives targeted “[President] Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s Interior Ministry militia” in an “ambush with an explosive device” in an operation against Sisi’s “military occupation.”
“To the militias of the military occupation, we affirm that the blood of martyrs was not spilled in vain, but is the fuel of our revolution which illuminates the road of resistance, and is a curse haunting the murderers,” Hassm’s statement declared. “There will be no security or safety for [Sisi’s troops] as long as we bear our arms.”
According to the Interior Ministry, the wounded policemen were rushed to a nearby hospital after the attack. The ministry’s statement added that police forces created a security cordon around the scene of the bombing, intensifying efforts to identify the perpetrators.
The state-owned Al-Akhbar news portal reported that a bomb squad, team of forensic experts and emergency response units were also deployed to the scene. Citing security sources, the state-owned Middle East News Agency reported that a state funeral will be held for the victims of Friday’s bombing.
Hassm emerged in the summer of this year, with its first armed operation resulting in the death of Mahmoud Abdel Hameed, head of investigations of the Tamya district in the governorate of Fayoum.
The group has also claimed responsibility for the failed assassination attempt on former grand mufti Ali Gomaa outside his home in the Cairo suburb of 6th of October city. In early September, the group published photos of what it claims were explosives planted by the Police Club in the Nile Delta governorate of Damietta.
Hassm has also claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt on Deputy Prosecutor General Zakaria Abdel Aziz in New Cairo in August, along with an assassination attempt on judge Ahmed Aboul Fotouh outside his home in the Nasr City district of Cairo in November.
Armed extremist religious groups have been stepping up their attacks in mainland Egypt in recent years, which were previously limited to the Sinai Peninsula.
Since the military-led ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, militant Islamist groups have carried out scores of bombings and armed attacks, primarily in northern Sinai, which have claimed the lives of hundreds of troops from both the military and police forces.