US designates HASM as Foreign Terrorist Organization

F.P. Report

WASHINGTON: The Department of State has increased sanctions against Harakat Sawa’d Misr – also known as HASM – by designating the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

HASM was previously designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 in January 2018 for posing a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism.

The Department has also designated Yahya al-Sayyid Ibrahim Musa and Alaa Ali Ali Mohammed al-Samahi as SDGTs under Section 1(a)(ii)(B) of E.O. 13224 for being leaders of HASM. Additionally, the Department has also reviewed the FTO designation of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and maintained it, in accordance with section 219 of the INA.

These designations seek to deny HASM and its leadership the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks. Among other consequences of designations, all of HASM’s, Musa’s, and al-Samahi’s property and interests that are within the United States or that come within the United States or that come within the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them. In addition, as a designated FTO, it is a federal crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to HASM.

HASM is a terrorist group active in Egypt. Formed in 2015, the group claimed responsibility for the assassination of Egyptian National Security Agency officer Ibrahim Azzazy, as well as the attempted assassination of Egypt’s former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa. HASM also claimed responsibility for a September 30, 2017 attack on Myanmar’s embassy in Cairo.

In August 2019, HASM was responsible for a powerful car-bomb that exploded outside of a hospital in Cairo, killing at least 20 people and injuring dozens. Musa is a Turkey-based HASM leader. Al-Samahi is as well; he is a senior HASM official with an operational role in the group. He has participated in attacking planning, to include target selection, and manages aspects of the group’s finances and allocation of funds. Some of the leaders of HASM were previously associated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

PIJ was founded in 1979-1980 in Egypt by Palestinian students Fathi Shaqaqi, Abd al-Aziz Odah, and Bashir Musa. It emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood movement and was inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran. PIJ is committed to the destruction of Israel and to the creation of an Islamic state in historic Palestine, including present-day Israel. PIJ terrorists have conducted numerous attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilians and military targets.

Today’s designations notify the U.S. public and the international community that HASM and PIJ remain terrorist organizations. Designations of terrorists, both individuals and groups, expose and isolate them and deny them access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and governments.