Egypt's Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claims responsibility for deadly attack on soldiers

Ahram Online , Saturday 15 Nov 2014

A new video released by Egypt's deadliest militant group threatens further attacks against security forces

Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis
A snapshot of a video released on Twitter in which Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis says it had beheaded four Egyptians for spying for Israel, August 28, 2014

Egypt's most violent militant group, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for last month's attack on a North Sinai army checkpoint which left over 30 soldiers dead.

The group released a video on social media late on Friday showing the attack, which took place on 24 October near the city of Sheikh Zuweid. Speaking directly to Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, ABM promised further attacks on the country's security forces.

Earlier this month, ABM announced its allegiance to the Islamic State, the militant group that has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria. It has also claimed responsibility for the majority of attacks targeting security forces since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year.

A three-month state of emergency and daily curfew were imposed in parts of North Sinai after last month's attack, with a buffer zone also established between Rafah and the Gaza Strip borders that mandated the evacuation of over a thousand families.

The ABM video released on Friday starts by saying that the only way to "liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque is by purifying all land from Jewish agents, like El-Sisi's army."

The reference to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – home to important sites for both Judaism and Islam – could be an effort to link the group's original name (Allies of Jerusalem) to their recent allegiance to IS.

The bulk of the video shows a series of alleged operations against Egypt's army and police in Sinai, which it referred to as a province belonging to IS. In one clip, ABM members shoot a police vehicle, killing its four occupants, two army conscripts in the back, a police officer in the front and the driver.

They then set fire to the police vehicle with the bodies inside.

In another scene, the group's members fire a mortar shell, allegedly on a security building, while another shows the group seizing an army tank.

A dramatic scene shows ABM members blasting the Egyptian pipeline that carries natural gas to Jordan, while a note scrolls across the bottom announcing that Jordan has joined the war against IS.

"God willing, not a drop of gas will reach Jordan until the caliph [of IS] permits it," another caption read.

The clip of bombing the gas pipeline probably dates to 15 October, when the Jordan gas pipeline was last bombed.

In another scene, an alleged ABM member – identified as Abo-Hamza Al-Ansary, a suicide bomber – speaks before executing an attack on Karm Al-Kwadis army checkpoint in North Sinai.

Al-Ansary offers a warning to El-Sisi, who he calls a "servant to the Jews."

"We will be the swords that cut your heads, your hands and your legs; we will be the bombs that demolish your thrones and forts," he says in the video.

At the end of the video, a man claims that a huge pile of ammunition by his side was taken from an army checkpoint.

The man – whose face is blurred – addresses Egypt's government, saying the group has "men that love death as much as you love life."

He also calls on army personnel not to be "sheep driven" by the regime, adding that ABM won't show any mercy to anyone who supports Egypt's authorities.

The unidentified man further says that the group's movement is not only restricted to Egypt, and that they won't stop until sharia law is applied over the entire world.

The video sparked fear among social media users, with some Twitter users pointing to the group's technological prowess as much as its "terrifying" campaign.

Egypt’s security forces have been facing a decade-long jihadist militant insurgency in Sinai, with militant attacks increasing over the past year and expanding into Cairo and the Nile Delta, killing hundreds of army and police personnel.

The military says it has killed and arrested hundreds of militants. Civilians have also been caught up in the violence.

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