A Central Security Forces (CSF) officer was reportedly killed and other two injured during a massive security raid on Friday evening to arrest the alleged perpetrators of the Helwan attack, according to state-run Akhbar Al-Youm.
Eight plainclothes police officers were killed on 8 May in an armed attack that targeted a checkpoint operation near Helwan police station. Investigations have been ongoing since then to discover the identity of the militants who carried out the attack.
The Ministry of Interior released a brief statement to confirm that an officer, Ahmed Hussein, was killed and two other officers were injured. The ministry has not yet revealed the circumstances surrounding the raid nor the identities of who the CSF were hoping to arrest.
The ministry has made no comment about the number of alleged militants who were killed or arrested at the time of print.
Former police officer and security expert Khalid Okasha told Daily News Egypt on Saturday: “I have received preliminary information that the raid took place in Ezbet El Walda area in the governorate of Helwan.”
Ezbet El Walda is home to long-standing traditional tribes. It is also host to many unsavoury characters, including drug dealers or militants. Some young people are tribal members turned fundamentalists, according to several residents there who informed Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity.
In 2014, a little-known militant group sprung up in the region: the Helwan Brigades. They achieved notoriety after publishing a video in Ezbet El Walda. A dozen men wearing balaclavas and holding firearms threatened the “Interior Ministry in south Cairo” and expressed their solidarity with killed Muslim Brotherhood protesters, although they maintained that they are not members of the now-banned group.
Since the attack on plainclothes police officers at the beginning of May, the Ministry of Interior’s security forces have permeated Ezbet El Walda to investigate and collect information about residents. Their investigations indicated that a terrorist cell was hidden in the area and, accordingly, the raid was carried out on Friday, Okasha said.
The armed clashes between the CSF and alleged militants were reported to have lasted for nearly two hours. “Three militants were killed and another three were arrested. The ministry will not reveal the full details of the raid until the end of investigation,” Okasha added.
A number of state-run media outlets have published conflicting narratives about the raid. Al-Ahram reported only two militants were arrested whereas Akhbar Al-Youm reported that all the perpetrators of the Helwan attack were killed by security forces.
Meanwhile, a police officer was reportedly killed and low-ranking officer injured on Saturday morning when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in Al-Arish city in North Sinai governorate, according to a statement issued on the Interior Ministry’s official Facebook page.
The statement indicated that the IED targeted an armoured vehicle while it was passing in front of Al-Arish first district police department.