Saturday,21 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1254, (9 - 22 July 2015)
Saturday,21 July, 2018
Issue 1254, (9 - 22 July 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Brotherhood violence enters new phase

Recent events indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood is stepping up its  campaign of terrorist violence against the state, writes Amany Maged  

Al-Ahram Weekly

In a major new development in the relationship between the state and the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation, the second anniversary of the 30 June Revolution has brought fierce violence to Egypt.
It began with the assassination of Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat and was followed by the killing of nine Muslim Brotherhood leaders in their homes in Sixth October City, according to the Interior Ministry, or 13 leaders, according to a Brotherhood statement.
These incidents are inseparable from events in Sinai, where 17 members of the Armed Forces were killed in an attack by operatives from the so-called Islamic State (IS) “Sinai Province.” The army quickly retaliated, killing at least 100 terrorists and bringing the situation under control.
These developments, occurring between 28 June and 2 July, have had numerous ramifications. Above all, they signal an escalation in violence on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. Moreover, according to a statement issued by the terrorist organisation following the deaths of its members in Sixth October City, there may be further violence to come.
In its statement, the Brotherhood said that the killing of 13 of its leaders “in cold blood” in Sixth October City ushered in “a new phase in which it will not be possible to control the anger of the oppressed and persecuted who will not accept to die in their homes amidst their families.”
Brotherhood spokesman Mohamed Muntasser said that the killing of the organisation’s members has created a “total minefield.” He called on the group’s supporters to take to the streets “in rebellion.”
A security source in the Qalioubiya governorate reported that Muslim Brotherhood member Hoda Ghaniya, a former People’s Assembly member and the wife of Brotherhood officer Hisham Khafafi, who was killed in Sixth October City, fled after the security forces raided Kafr Shabin, her husband’s native village.
The Basous village in the Qanater Khairiya area north of Cairo also saw an intensive security presence as Nasser Al-Hafi, among those killed in Sixth October City, came from the village.
In Al-Qalj and Saryaqus in the Khanka area and the villages of Arab Al-Uleiqat and Arab Joheina, the security forces countered Brotherhood demonstrations, leading to the arrest of ten members of the organisation.
The security authorities have also tightened their grip on social networking sites. The General Administration for Information and Documentation, which falls under the Interior Ministry, has apprehended the Brotherhood operative responsible for the “Day of Salvation” and 19 other Facebook pages that seek to incite violence and disseminate chaos, a statement said.
The security agencies have been waging an ongoing campaign to track and identify the Muslim Brotherhood operatives responsible for creating and using Facebook pages to incite violence against the police and Armed Forces and to sow anarchy.
Tareq Abu Al-Saad, a former Brotherhood leader who has broken away from the organisation, warned in remarks to the press that the Brotherhood would respond to the elimination of nine of its leaders.
According to Abu Al-Saad, the fact that 3 July passed with no noticeable Brotherhood presence was merely a “temporary tactical measure.” The group will never cease from violence, which is part of its creed, he said. It is merely lying low until the current mobilisation of the security forces, triggered by Barakat’s assassination and the attack in Sinai, subsides.
He said that the Brotherhood, in its statement issued after the killing of its members in Sixth October City, has now officially declared its support for violence.
Meanwhile, a report by the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, a research centre, noted not only the intensification in terrorist violence that took place on the occasion of the anniversary of the 30 June Revolution, but also the qualitative escalation in the nature of the attacks and the spread of their scope.
The study said that terrorist activity in Egypt acquired a fresh impetus following publication of the “Call of Egypt” statement in May 2015. The statement, signed by 150 Muslim ulema who support the Muslim Brotherhood, called for acts of violence against the symbols of authority in Egypt.
The upsurge in terrorist violence following the statement confirms that various Muslim Brotherhood support bases espouse and carry out violence. According to the study, following the dismantlement of the Brotherhood’s organisational structure, some members, Brotherhood youth in particular, formed terrorist cells in order to carry out attacks against the police and electricity pylons and other utilities using rudimentary bombs or drive-by shootings.
According to an article by University of Frankfurt Professor Uriya Shavit entitled “The Muslim Brothers’ Conception of Armed Insurrection against an Unjust Regime,” which appeared in the Middle East Studies Journal earlier this year, the rate of bombings in Egypt has soared since the ouster of Morsi two years ago.
Sixty-four per cent of the bombings targeted police checkpoints and army vehicles, 15 per cent targeted universities and 11 per cent government agencies, Shavit said. In addition, a number of armed groups have emerged that are suspected of having branched off from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Experts anticipate an escalation in the intensity of terrorist operations, especially in the light of the statement issued by the Brotherhood on 1 July. They also warn that terrorist groups may attempt to unleash an unprecedented wave of violence in response to the government’s security clampdown and the intensification of security precautions, which include a law to combat terrorism and possible amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code.
Experts on Islamist movements also believe it likely that terrorist organisations will try to spoil the inaugural ceremony for the new Suez Canal in August through acts of violence and intimidation aimed at discouraging international guests from coming to Egypt.
Terrorism in Egypt has apparently entered a new phase, forcing government agencies to gird themselves for the confrontation using both military and legal measures.

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