Egypt's Ministry of Interior has announced Tuesday the arrest of 12 gunmen from Hasm Movement, which is described as the military arm of the “banned” Muslim Brotherhood group, during a security crackdown in Fayoum governorate, 80 kilometers southwest of Cairo.
“The national security sector has been informed about the recent orders given by the leadership of the terrorist group, Muslim Brotherhood, to its elements in Fayoum governorate to intensify their hostile activity and cause destabilization,” a statement issued by the Interior Ministry said.
“The group is described as planning to conduct several simultaneous attacks across the country, targeting police departments and prisons, and assassinating public figures.”
“Among those to be targeted were police and army personnel and members of the judiciary,” the statement added.
The statement also explained that 12 members were arrested, and the police seized 13 types of firearms, including nine automatic rifles, a machine gun, three pistols and two explosive devices that were "deactivated.”
The suspects confessed joining a group called Hasm Vanguards, receiving training on the use of firearms, and preparing IED's, said the ministry.
They were assigned to observe several targets and security facilities, especially police stations and prisons, in preparation to attack them together and participate in attempts to assassinate policemen and some public figures.
The Interior Ministry said that the operation comes as part of its efforts to track down members of the armed movement of the Muslim Brotherhood- whose organizational activity has increased and aimed at preparing for carrying out hostile operations- arrest these members and thwart their schemes.
The ministry said that legal measures have been taken against them and the State Security Prosecution began investigating the defendants.
It confirmed that it continues to track down members and cadres of the terrorist group, dry up the sources of material support for its elements and address terrorists, criminals and outlaws to prevent destabilization of security in the country.
The arrests came few days after authorities officially announced that at least 16 policemen were killed in a brazen ambush by militants southwest of Cairo.