Islamist group claims Cairo insurance company arson

An Islamist group, believed to be involved in a campaign of violence targeting businesses in Egypt, claimed on its Facebook page an arson attack on the headquarters of an insurance company in Cairo.

In a statement on Facebook, the Popular Resistance wrote:

“We claim responsibility for setting fire to the Egyptian-Saudi Insurance House in Dokki, as part of the movement’s campaign targeting supporters of the military regime and its economic blockade plan under consideration.”

The movement, the statement said, “promises further actions shortly”. It also threatened to target all those who provide economic support to the regime. “You won’t be safe as long as your money is being used to kill Muslims,” it said.

Since January 2015, the movement and another group with similar objectives, Revolutionary Punishment, took credit for attacks on foreign and Egyptian businesses and security forces. Egyptian authorities invariably blame such attacks on the Muslim Brotherhood, designated a terrorist group after the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi by the military in July 2013. Recent media reports suggested a widening rift between the older generation and younger members of the Muslim Brotherhood, pushing for a revolutionary approach to the struggle against the military-led regime.

One of the main disagreements between the two camps is the use of force with the older generation committed to non-violence. Despite this rift, the Brotherhood has repeatedly denied any link to the attacks.

According to Al-Jazeera.net, the Popular Resistance and Revolutionary Punishment claimed a series of attacks last year that include setting fire to government buildings and bombing of railway tracks, trains, power and water plants and mobile phone masts and blocking main roads across the country.

In an interview with the website in January last year, a movement member revealed that its members--a group of youths without political affiliation or interest in politics—“seek to establish justice and retaliation for the blood of martyrs”—a reference to Brotherhood supporters killed during a crackdown in August 2013 and in successive security raids.

The movement member, who gave his name as Mahmud al-Sayyid, denied that the aim of the campaign is to spread terrorism and fear among Egyptians.

The movement believes in non-violence, Al-Sayyid said, but “it seeks to throw security forces into confusion and to punish them for their crimes against peaceful protestors”. In defending the attacks, he said they were not “acts of sabotage”. Justifying disruptions of roads, he said, Indonesian students used a similar technique during nationwide demonstrations in 1998, which contributed to the fall of the late dictator Suharto.

As with previous attacks claimed by the movement, Shahid King Bolsen, an Istanbul-based American convert to Islam with an anti-capitalist agenda, shared the movement’s latest statement on his Facebook page. He wrote:

 In another post, Bolsen wrote: 

Bolsen is an “Internet provocateur”, as the New York Times put it. He has been urging young radicalized Egyptians in an online campaign to take action against multinationals and corporations in the country.