CAIRO, — A minor Islamist military faction claimed responsibility for failed assassination attempt of Egypt’s former highest Islamic official Ali Gomaa on Friday.

In a press release published on its website, a military faction named Hasm said a group of its fighters were behind the failed assassination attempt of Egypt’s former Grand Mufti Dr. Gomaa.

Hasm is an acronym of Aarbic phrase “Haraket Sawid Misr,” which literally means “Egypt’s Forearms Movement.”

The movement emerged recently as it announced its first operation in mid July when its gunmen assassinated a high-ranking police officer in the Delta province of al-Fayyoum.

Friday’s failed assassination attempt is the group’s second operation.

According to the press release, Gomaa and his bodyguards were ambushed in front of his home in 6th of October City on the outskirts of Cairo.

The group added that its militants halted shooting because of “the sudden appearance of innocent civilians on the scene.”

Earlier on the day, two gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire at Gomaa and his bodyguards on his way to a mosque near his home where he was supposed to lead Friday prayers.

State-run MENA news agency reported that only one of his bodyguards was slightly injured, while the assailants managed to flee.

In statements to state TV, Gomaa said the assassination attempt would not discourage him, adding that the failed attack proves the terrorists’ inability to carry out their plots.

In the meantime, interior ministry formed an investigation team to quickly determine the identities of the attackers and catch them, according to MENA.

The assassination attempt came hours after Egypt’s army announced the killing of the leader of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), an Islamist group affiliated with the Daesh terrorist group, which has so far killed hundreds of Egyptian army and police members.

Observers believe the assassination attempt of Gomaa, who remained in office for almost a decade until 2013, came as a response to the killing of the terrorist group’s leader, dubbed Abu Doaa al-Ansari, in the country’s restive North Sinai province.

ABM has carried out hundreds of anti-security attacks following the ouster of the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by the army in response to mass protest against his rule in 2013.

Gomaa, an outspoken critic of Islamist opposition, is seen by Mosri’s supporters as an important tool that helped the government intensify its crackdown on Islamists through his advisory opinions on death rulings made by criminal courts against members of Morsi’s banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

According to Egyptian law, judges should refer all preliminary death sentences to the Grand Mufti for his religious judgment.

However, the Mufti’s opinion is not obligatory to the court as it is usually considered a formality.

Official and public reactions to the failed assassination attempt came quickly, with condemnations and pledges to retaliate.

Right after the attack, Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi telephoned Gomaa to inquire after his health condition, strongly condemning the failed assassination attempt, according to MENA.

The Egyptian Cabinet, a number of members of the parliament and the current Grand Mufti also condemned the failed assassination.

Source: Name News Network