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Egyptian Police Ambush, Shoot Upstart Terror Leaders In Cairo

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RTX34WSO

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

Egyptian police killed two terrorist leaders after successfully ambushing and shooting them Tuesday, according to the government.

Security officers intercepted the two men as they were traveling to a new hideout where they were “about to move their equipment and weapons used in terrorist operations” just outside of Cairo, the Egyptian capital. Officers set up security checkpoints along the projected path. One group’s cars pulled up to one of the checkpoints and shot at police, who returned fire and killed the two militants, according to a France 24 report.

Egypt’s interior ministry claimed that the two men, aged 24 and 21, were “among the most prominent leaders in the Hasam terrorist group,” an extremist militant organization that is believed to have ties to the now illegal Muslim Brotherhood. A cache containing seven automatic weapons, two other guns, a stockpile of ammunition, radios and masks was found in the car.

The operation followed a previous attack in May perpetrated by the Hasam movement which left three officers dead. The now deceased men are believed to have been involved in the attack. Hasam has claimed other recent terror attacks against security officers in Egypt, in addition to assassination attempts.

Hasam, which means “decisiveness” in Arabic, is a relatively new organization that has only been prominent for about a year. The group first caught the attention of authorities in July 2016 when it claimed an attack which killed a senior police officer. The group followed up with the attempted assassination of Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa, who was a known critic of Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. It perpetrated two other attacks in September before an attempting to assassinate Egypt’s assistant attorney general Sept. 29.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been a fierce opponent of Islamist groups since taking power in June 2014. He declared a three-month state of emergency in April after the Islamic State bombed two Coptic Christian churches, killing dozens. It has since been extended until the end of September.

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