The Islamist militant group Lewaa al-Thawra released footage on Monday condoling four of its “martyrs” and pledging to continue its operations in Egypt.
The video, titled Firsan al-Janna (Knights of heaven) celebrated Abdullah Helal, Ragab Aly, Ahmed Mahfouz and Hassan Galal, all of whom are university students.
The video showed Helal and Aly reading out segments of their wills, as well practicing drills in which they simulate planting explosive devices.
While the video contained no details regarding the circumstances of the death of the four men, Facebook pages close to the Muslim Brotherhood have accused police of killing them after their forcible disappearance last October.
The Mohamed Kamal wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, created after an internal rift in the group last year, had also issued a statement this month condemning the “assassination and extrajudicial execution” of a number of young Egyptians who had been forcibly disappeared, describing such practices as “a terrible crime which calls forth a fair societal and popular punishment.”
The Interior Ministry stated on March 8 that Hassan Galal, one of the four Lewaa al-Thawra members featured in the video, opened fire on security forces who were attempting to arrest him in Ismailia. The statement asserts that security forces were forced to “engage him, which led to his death.”
Lewaa al-Thawra rose to prominence after it claimed the assassination of an army officer, Brigadier General Adel Ragaie, in a video last October.
Similar to Hassm, another Islamist militant group, Lewaa al-Thawra adopts a political discourse that diverges from conventional Islamist groups. For example, the group condemned the bombing of Cairo’s St. Peter and St. Paul Church.
Hassm welcomed the formation of Lewaa al-Thawra and commended its operation to assassinate Ragaie.
Both groups are what the Egyptian government and certain media outlets call “special committees,” smaller groups which were formed after the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi and the violent dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins.
Developments have since pointed to one side of the Muslim Brotherhood rift being involved in founding and supporting some of these militant groups, such as Jabhat al-Muqawama al-Shaabiyya (the Popular Resistance Front) and Iqab al-Thawri (Revolutionary Punishment). However, an investigation by Mada Masr revealed that a significant number of the committees were created through the individual efforts of young Islamists with no direct affiliation to the Brotherhood.