Egyptian police on Monday (October 2nd) engaged in a shootout with Hasm militants, killing three, during a raid on their hideout in 15th of May City in Helwan, on the southern outskirts of Cairo.
Police conducted the raid on the hideout, inside a cemetery that was under construction, in response to intelligence that revealed the militants had been preparing to launch a hostile act, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
"The National Security Agency received information about a group of Hasm terrorists frequenting the above area to escape security crackdowns," the statement said.
"We acted on this information after receiving a permit from State Security Prosecution and moved to and surrounded the place," it added.
"However, as the forces approached the place, they were met with intensive fire, prompting them to respond to its source and kill three elements," it said.
The security forces have identified two of the dead as Mohammed Abdul Karim Maraey Abdul Rahman, 23, of Ibsheway in Fayoum province and Mahmoud Barakat Mohammed Mohammed, 29, of Beni Suef province.
Security forces found a machine gun, a 9-millimetre pistol, and a quantity of ammunition and bullet shells at the scene, the ministry said.
"The two above-named persons are among the most dangerous and prominent elements of Hasm, which has recently claimed responsibility for many terrorist attacks," the ministry said, noting that they are wanted by state security.
"We will continue to carry out our plans to crack down on Hasm cadres and identify the places they use as shelters and as bases for carrying out their hostile acts," it said.
Military intelligence bears fruit
Intelligence agencies have provided the security forces with information that has enabled them to locate the hideouts of militants in Cairo, Sinai and elsewhere, said military expert Maj. Gen. Mokhtar Qandeel.
"The Egyptian capital is largely secure after the terrorist groups were undermined and many of their elements were killed," he told Al-Mashareq.
"Scattered remnants of Hasm are still found in Egyptian governorates, but they are suffering as a result of the cutoff of supplies and communications with their leaders because of the security crackdown," he said.
Morale is high in Egypt's security agencies following recent successes in operations targeting groups such as Hasm and "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) affiliate Wilayat Sinai, Qandeel said.
"The popular and political support which is aimed at establishing security for Egypt and its citizens also has helped raise morale," he said.
"Hasm will not end that easily, but it has been largely weakened," he added.
"Its current danger lies in its ability to recruit new elements unknown to the security agencies," he cautioned, noting that this "will prolong the conflict and requires continuous security vigilance".