CAIRO – Egyptian security forces killed 17 members of the Islamist group blamed for an explosion in Cairo earlier this week that left 20 people dead, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.
Eight “terrorists” died in al-Fayum, south of Cairo, while seven others perished in al-Shuruk, northeast of the capital, the ministry said in a statement.
Two other members of the Hasm group were killed in the Helwan district of Cairo, according to the ministry.
The statement said that one of the two Helwan fatalities was the brother of 24-year-old Abdel Rahman Khaled Mahmoud Abdel Rahman, identified as the driver of the explosives-packed car that detonated in the wee hours of Monday outside Cairo’s main cancer hospital.
A score of people died in the blast and 47 others were wounded.
The 15 suspects in al-Fayum and al-Shuruk were killed by return fire after they shot at security forces, the Interior Ministry said.
Authorities said that Monday’s explosion occurred as Abdel Rahman was transporting explosives intended for use in an attack at another location.
The explosives-laden car, which had been stolen months earlier in the northern province of Monufia, collided with oncoming traffic while traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way street running parallel to the Nile River.
Hasm emerged in 2016 and claimed authorship of a number of attacks, including the attempted assassinations of Egypt’s assistant attorney general and the grand mufti of Cairo.
But Hasm denies any involvement with Monday’s explosion in Cairo and no other group has claimed responsibility.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government describes Hasm as the armed wing of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, party of the late Mohammed Morsi, the democratically elected president ousted by then-Gen. al-Sisi in 2013.
Rejecting the attribution, the Brotherhood says it is committed to advancing its political through exclusively peaceful means.