An unknown militant group, calling itself ‘Tahrir Brigades’, claimed responsibility for the assassination of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat in June, in a video showing only rolling text.
The video, which shows only text and some logos, contains the voice of a man reading a statement. The video argued that the group’s members, who claim they are members of the armed forces, “are fed up with the corruption of the military leaders and will not be silent about it”.
“We will not allow the honour of the military to be insulted,” it added. They described Barakat’s assassination as the first of its actions, but vowed it will not be the last.
The post is the first on the group’s newly established YouTube channel. There are no earlier activities or statements known from ‘Tahrir Brigades’. The authenticity of the post and claim has not been confirmed.
Barakat’s assassination was the first successful attempt to kill a top-level state official in Egypt since the 1990s. Barakat died due to injuries sustained in an attack that targeted his motorcade. The attack occurred one day before the second anniversary of the 30 June popular uprising, that eventually led to the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013.
On the day of the assassination, a militant group called Revolutionary Punishment claimed the attack, but only posted amateur images of the attack’s aftermath.
The two major militant groups in the country, Ajnad Misr and State of Sinai, claim most of their attacks using visual content, such as images or videos. All of the material is also posted on their social media accounts, or the pages of their affiliates.
Egypt has long experience with militant groups based on the Muslim Brotherhood’s threatened use of violence in case they are pursued. The state assumes the group is the root of all hostilities, as well as the influence behind militant groups such as “State of Sinai” and others.
This has put other countries in dispute with Egypt, namely the US, Qatar and Turkey. Meanwhile, Gulf countries were considered allies of Egypt during the 30 June uprising.
For his part, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry participated, with the international community, in counter-terrorism efforts and combating militants. This including taking part in a march in commemoration of the massacre at French magazine “Charlie Hebdo”, which was also attended by other world leaders.
Locally, authorities have been trying to pursue social media accounts that promote violence against security forces, or call for anti-state demonstrations. However, several popular Muslim Brotherhood pages, such as Students Against the Coup (SAC) are still running.
President Al-Sisi had expressed fury at “new technologies and communication platforms”, allowing “terrorists” to celebrate and spread their ideas.