Salafi insurgency fermenting in northern Sinai

100053125-least-egyptianBY :

Northern Sinai has long played host to a variety of smuggling networks and jihadi organizations. Since General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi’s military coup of July 3rd, 2013 in Egypt, however, there has been an exponential increase in attacks emanating from this area.

sinai2This increasingly lawless region is now the home ground for an emergent Islamist insurgency against the Egyptian authorities. Since July, 2013, more than 300 reported attacks have taken place in Sinai. The violence is also spreading into the Egyptian mainland, with attacks in recent weeks on a security facility in Cairo, and the killing of an Interior Ministry official in the capital.

Some of the groups engaged in the fighting are linked to global jihadi networks, including al-Qaeda. Others have connections to elements in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The precise links between the various organizations engaged are difficult to trace.

This emergent reality in northern Sinai has serious implications for Israel. While the main focus of the jihadi activity is directed against Sisi’s administration in Cairo, some of the groups centrally involved have a track record of attacks against Israeli targets. In al-Qaeda’s official propaganda channels, the north Sinai area is described as a new front in the war against ‘the Jews and the Americans.’

The most significant group operating in northern Sinai today is the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Supporters of Jerusalem) organization. This organization has been active since 2011. It originated in Gaza, and made its way to Sinai following the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The group’s name will raise a wry smile for Israeli and Jewish readers. The Arabic term ‘Beit al-Maqdis’ (House of the Holy) for Jerusalem derives from the older Hebrew name for the Jewish Temple – Beit Hamikdash, with the same meaning.

Contemporary Islamists and jihadis, of course, would fiercely deny that any Jewish Temple ever stood in Jerusalem.

But this absence of logical consistency appears to have little impact on the organization’s energy for violent activity.

But this absence of logical consistency appears to have little impact on the organization’s energy for violent activity.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was responsible for repeated attacks on the El-Arish-Ashkelon gas pipeline in 2011-12, which eventually led to the suspension of supplies via this route.

The group also carried out the cross-border terror attack on August 18, 2011, in which eight Israelis were murdered, and an additional strike into Israel on September 21, 2012, which took the life of an IDF soldier.

More recently, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the rocket attack on Eilat on January 20, 2014. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

The organization’s main focus in recent weeks has been on increasingly high-profile attacks against Egyptian targets. These have included an attempt on the life of Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim on September 5, 2013, and a series of bomb attacks in Cairo in January,2014. On January 25, 2014, the group claimed responsibility for downing a military helicopter over northern Sinai.

The weapon used in this attack, a Russian Igla air-defense system, was reportedly smuggled out from Gaza, where the group maintains links with Salafi Jihadi elements.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

So what exactly is Ansar Beit al-Maqdis?

According to a former militant of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization, Nabil al-Naeim, the group is funded by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, following a deal brokered with powerful Brotherhood strongman Khairet al-Shater.

Naeim suggested that Ansar Beit al Maqdis is supplied with weapons by the Brotherhood via the Gaza tunnels and Libya. He maintains that the Hamas authorities in Gaza are aware of the deal.

The alleged Brotherhood links were also asserted by Sameh Eid, described in an al-Arabiyya article as an ‘expert on Islamist groups.’ Eid referred to the group as the ‘military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood,’ and said that Shater had threatened the Egyptian authorities with ‘escalation in Sinai and the targeting of the Egyptian Army.’

Read more at Gloria Center

ALLARD: Perilous dalliance with Egyptian extremists

106_2013_b1-allard-ohanian8201_s640x740By Ken Allard:

“No way!” sniffed the money-honey at Washington Dulles International Airport as she refused to exchange my stack of Egyptian pound notes. “That currency is so unstable, we can’t even establish an exchange rate in real money. It’s worthless paper.” Badly jet-lagged, I testily replied that some humility might be in order since the American government, backer of the aforementioned “real money,” was at that very moment, technically insolvent. While I won the debate on points, those Egyptian pounds are still with me as rueful souvenirs of last week’s whirlwind fact-finding trip to Egypt.

Organized by the Westminster Institute, a McLean-based think tank, our small delegation of media and military analysts was given extraordinary access to Egypt’s top decision-makers, the first such private visit since last summer’s overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood. Our principal interlocutors included the minister of defense, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-SissiTheodoros II, pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church; and Amr Moussa, drafter-in-chief of the new Egyptian Constitution. We also interviewed business leaders, journalists and student revolutionaries, street-wise veterans of the back-to-back uprisings that toppled the authoritarian regimes of Hosni Mubarak and Mohammed Morsi.

Bottom-line impression: While Egypt struggles valiantly, this key regional ally remains in serious trouble. With tourism down by 85 percent and the average Egyptian existing on $2 a day, foreign investment is a desperate, immediate need. Egyptian elites also worry that the strategic stakes (the largest Arab population and most powerful military) are being obscured by a Washington media muddle obsessed with Syria. From graduate students — many of them unemployed — to their executive-suite elders, the recurring nightmare is that the deposed Muslim Brotherhood will fight to regain control of Egypt, the capstone of the longed-for Islamist caliphate. Given the Brotherhood’s 80-year track record, such fears are not unreasonable.

This also explains why ordinary Egyptians reserve a special measure of loathing for Barack Obama, arguing passionately that he is the Muslim Brotherhood’s silent partner. Some of the most troubling comments:

• “Why does the American government under President Obama continue to back the terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood — including the kind of terrorism that singles out women?”

• “Why does Washington keep demeaning our revolution by calling it a coup? With more than 20 million signatures on recall petitions and 30 million Egyptians in the streets, what else could the Egyptian army do but carry out the will of the people? Especially when the alternative was civil war?”

• “Egypt has been a loyal friend of the United States since Anwar Sadat and a military partner from Desert Storm to the War on Terrorism. So why are you criticizing your friends and seeing Egyptian problems only through American eyes?”

While no one was crude enough to mention Vladimir Putin as a substitute quarterback, the Egyptian military is palpably angry about the Obama administration’s slow-roll on modernization. Critical equipment, like the F-16 aircraft and the Apache AH-64 attack helicopter, is being delayed. The latter is an especially useful counterinsurgency weapon. Gen. el-Sissi told us flatly that he would not allow theMuslim Brotherhood or anyone else to mount attacks on other countries from Egyptian soil. By that, he meant control over Gaza and the Sinai while continuing to protect the economic “lifeblood” of the Suez Canal. Known threats in those places now include a copious flow of weapons spawned by the fall of longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi. Knowledgeable Egyptians charge that “the U.S. just walked away from Libya once it was over” — ensuring that future military disasters were not left to chance.

Read more at Washington Times

Coptic Christians March on White House, Washington Post

1176164_381903781936483_1016611046_nBY: :

A group of Egyptians protested in front of the White House Thursday afternoon to “expose” what they say is “the clear bias of the Obama administration and the American media in support of the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist ideology.”

Hundreds of Egyptians, who travelled to Washington, D.C. from around the United States, gathered in front of the White House before marching to the offices of the Washington Post, news network CNN, and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim advocacy group that protestors called the Brotherhood’s “embassy.”

Protest organizers called on “all Egyptians” living in the U.S. to join their march, which took place as violence in Egypt continues to rage between the Muslim Brotherhood and secular military forces.

The marchers’ final stop was the Egyptian military attaché’s D.C. office, where the activists chanted their support for “the Egyptian army for its heroic stand against [Muslim Brotherhood] terrorism.”

“We are against the Muslim Brotherhood,” protestor Ramez Mossed told theFree Beacon. “He [Obama] supports the Muslim Brotherhood. He has a big hand in Egypt and the mess in Egypt. We’re trying to tell him, ‘Don’t support the terrorists. Please be fair.’”

Many of those who participated in the march are Coptic Christians, a religious group that has been systematically targeted with violence by pro-Brotherhood protestors, some of whom have been desecrating and sieging churches in Egypt.

The protestors gathered on the curb outside of the White House lofting signs that read, “We support the Egyptian Army,” and “The Muslim Brotherhood never renounced terrorism.”

“You can burn down our churches but you can never touch our faith,” read another sign.

“I love this sign,” said one passerby who saw the sign referring to the churches. “I believe it too.”

1185018_10201706805454897_316079278_n

Read more at Free Beacon

Egypt MB Protests Underscore Hypocrisy of America’s Islamists

by John Rossomando
IPT News
July 31, 2013

Six Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood highups flee to Gaza, set up command post for uprising

Gaza Beach Hotel: Muslim Brotherhood uprising command post

Gaza Beach Hotel: Muslim Brotherhood uprising command post

DEBKAfile:

A group of six Muslim Brotherhood officials escaped from Egypt after their president was overthrown in a military coup July 3 and smuggled themselves into the Gaza Strip to lead an uprising against the military in Cairo,DEBKAfile’s exclusive intelligence sources disclose. Headed by Mahmud Izzat Ibrahim, a senior deputy of the Supreme Guide, the group has established a command post at the Gaza Beach Hotel, to organize operations against Egyptian military and security targets, in conjunction with Hamas and armed Al Qaeda-linked Salafist Bedouin in Sinai.

The ousted Islamist leaders hope their revolt will quickly spread out from Sinai to Egypt proper and topple the provisional rulers in Cairo.
Mahmoud Izzat, a doctor of medicine, known as the Muslim Brotherhood’s “iron man,” ranks fourth after Supreme Guide Muhammed Badie in the Muslim Brotherhood hierarchy. He was a key figure in handing down the policy decisions of the Guidance Office, of which he has been a member since 1981, to the movement’s Freedom and Justice Party in government and parliament.
Married to a former supreme guide’s daughter, he was imprisoned in 1995 as leader of an illegal organization, and jailed again in January 2008 for participating in Cairo demonstrations against an Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip.
DEBKAfile: The MB leadership picked Mahmoud Izzat as the man best able to command the movement’s mutiny against its successors in Cairo.

Our sources reveal that the group escaped from Egypt using the Hamas networks which operated underground in Egypt during the Mubarak presidency. In February 2011, when Mubarak was on his way out, those networks came out of hiding to engineer the mass jailbreak of Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi himself.
To bypass Egyptian military and police roadblocks on Sinai roads, Hamas provided Izzat and his fellow Brethren with smugglers’ boats that ply the Mediterranean sea route between Alexandria and Gaza.

Saturday, July 20, the Egyptian army imposed a total blockade on sea craft traffic along the Mediterranean coasts of Gaza and Sinai and clamped down heavily on other means of access to the Gaza Strip. Army engineers are destroying the hundreds of smuggling tunnels linking Sinai and the Palestinian enclave, which were an integral part of Gaza’s economy under Hamas rule.

Last week, Egyptian Apache gun ships flew overhead to warn the Palestinian rulers that their movements was under surveillance.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that, in view of the Gaza Strip’s key role in abetting the uprising, the Egyptian army may decide to kick off its counter-terror operation in Sinai by dropping elite forces in Gaza by air or sea for commandeering the Beach Hotel and detaining the six Muslim Brotherhood leaders. They would be brought to Cairo and tried on charges of instigating revolt.

Read more

Bin Laden’s Doctor Terrorizing Egypt from Sinai Base

By Raymond Ibrahim:

New Egyptian intelligence confirms that Dr. Ramzi Mawafi—better known as the late terrorist Osama bin Laden’s physician—is the leader of the so-called “Free Egyptian Army” that consists primarily of Islamic terrorists clustered all throughout the Sinai, and who have been responsible for the recent attacks on Egyptian soldiers, police, Christian Copts, and other targets, including the gas pipes, all in response to the ousting of Muhammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sources also confirm that Mawafi is trying to transform the Sinai Peninsula to an “Islamic emirate” and turning his “Free Egyptian Army” into its jihadi wing to launch attacks on Egypt proper. Accordingly, he has been, for two and a half years—since being released from prison—rallying thousands of fellow jihadis, from Egypt and other countries, to the Sinai to form bases.

Mawafi was released from the Wadi Natrun prison on January 29—the same day and prison that now ousted president Muhammad Morsi was released from at the hands of Hamas. Moreover, early reports had indicated that Morsi was summoning jihadis, foreign and domestic, to congregate in the Sinai so as to come to his aid whenever needed—just as they are now.

Following these revelations that Mawafi is behind the Sinai upsurge, Egypt’s General Commander Sisi called for Mawafi’s head—“dead or alive.”

Also see:

Report: Muslim Brotherhood to Form Rebel Egyptian Army (clarionproject.org)

Egyptian General: Hamas Smuggled Rockets to Muslim Brotherhood

Palestinians look at homemade rockets during a Palestinian heritage exhibition a festival marking the 61st anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) on April 27, 2009, in Gaza (photo credit: Abed Abed/Flash90)

Palestinians look at homemade rockets during a Palestinian heritage exhibition a festival marking the 61st anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) on April 27, 2009, in Gaza (photo credit: Abed Abed/Flash90)

by John Rossomando:

 

Aiding Islamist Propaganda

ISNABy Rachel Lipsky:

In the latest clashes between the Egyptian Army and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, at least 51 mostly Muslim Brothers were killed near a Cairo military building, prompting Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie to vilify — you guessed it — Jewish people.

“Even the Jews have never done to Egypt what the army did,” Badie stated. Whatever happened, one thing rings clear. The Muslim Brotherhood maintains no love for Jews, living or dead.

How much stranger does it look now, that in May 2013, U.S. Rabbi Jack Bamporad organized trips to Auschwitz for Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) members. ISNA is a North American Muslim Brotherhood organization and unindicted coconspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist funding case that ended in November 2008 with 108 convictions on 108 charges of terror finance and tax fraud, among other things.

Yet, according to a May 2013 Huffington Post item, “Imams Visit Auschwitz, Nazi Death Camp, Pray For Holocaust Victims,” ISNA and the Saudi, Jordanian, Bosnian, Indonesian, Nigerian, and Turkish imams visiting Auschwitz, partly under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, represent bastions of love and regret over harm done to the Jewish people.

“What can you say? You’re speechless. What you have seen is beyond human imagination,” Imam Mohamed Magid, President of the U.S.-based Islamic Society of North America, told Agence France-Presse.”

Nothing could be further from the truth, as demonstrated by the Jew-hatred last week of Mohammed Badie. At least one of the imams who participated in this grand interfaith gesture at Auschwitz and other imams affiliated with ISNA have a history of inciting anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, and anti-American rhetoric and often deliver that vitriol in messages exclusively to their own Muslim audiences while deceiving everyone else by outwardly appearing to be moderate and preaching religious tolerance and mutual respect.

In the summer of 2012, ISNA national director Mr. Sayeed Sayeed spoke at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York, ostensibly promoting greater appreciation and understanding of Islam to an audience of primarily non-Muslims. A month after the Chautauqua lecture, the very same Mr. Sayeed invited a group of speakers forISNA’s national convention, some of whom are known Islamist radicals who routinely make appallingly hate-filled statements in their public speeches and sermons.

Read more at American Thinker

Israeli green light for big Egyptian Sinai offensive, after Islamists fail to assassinate Egyptian general

Al Qaeda flags adorn Morsi's image in Sinai

Al Qaeda flags adorn Morsi’s image in Sinai

Debka:

Israel Thursday July 11 approved a major Egyptian offensive for curbing the mounting aggression in Sinai of armed Salafis gangs, Muslim Brotherhood raiders and Hamas terrorists. A day earlier, Egypt’s Second Army commander, Maj.-Gen. Ahmad Wasfi, who is assigned to lead the offensive, escaped unhurt from an attempt on his life. Some of his bodyguards and soldiers were killed.

Maj.-Gen. Wasfi arrived in Sinai just four days ago to set up headquarters in the northern town of El Arish. He was targeted for the first attempt by radical Islamists to murder a high-ranking Egyptian general.  As a close associate of Defense Minister Gen. Fattah El-Sisi, Wasfi took part in the military coup which ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo on July 3.

Around 30 Islamist gunmen laid in ambush for his convoy Wednesday,DEBKAfile’s sources report. As the cars drove past Sheikh Zuwayed, southwest of El Arish, they came under a hail of RPG anti-tank rockets and explosive devices. A minivan then drove the length of the convoy shooting heavy machine guns and armor-piercing bullets, trapping the Egyptian troops and officers in the blazing vehicles and gunning down those who tried to escape.

A fierce shootout ensued in which a number of attackers suffered losses, Egyptian military sources say. The minivan’s driver was captured and is under interrogation.

Tuesday, at the same location, two buses carrying Colombian peacemakers serving with the multinational force-MFO at the Sheikh Zuwayed base were also waylaid and shot up.

Of deep concern to the Egyptian and Israeli high commands is the Salafist assailants’ prior knowledge of the timing and route taken by Gen. Wasfi’s convoy in Sinai, because it means that Islamist terrorists have penetrated Egypt’s military apparatus in Sinai and gained an inside track on its activities.
With Israel’s consent (in line with the 1979 peace treaty), the Egyptian army last week withdrew substantial strength from the Suez Canal towns of Port Said and Ismailia and deployed the troops in Sinai ahead of the offensive.
On the other side of the Sinai border, Israeli Defense Forces are heavily deployed along the Sinai and Gaza border fences and in the southernmost sector of Eilat.
They are on high alert on intelligence that the armed Islamists plan to retaliate for an Egyptian assault by attacking Israel.

Read more

Violent MB Rhetoric Fuels Egyptian Tension

IPT News
July 10, 2013

 

Morsi Supporters Wave Al Qaeda Flags in Sinai

egypt_2613000b-550x343-450x280Front Page, By Daniel Greenfield:

Since those are Syrian Al Qaeda flags, maybe soon they’ll be able to use some of those weapons Obama promised them to overthrow the Egyptian government.

It could have been Syria, but it was Egypt, last week. Black jihadist flags, inset with the white oblong cartouche favoured by Syrian affiliates of al-Qaeda, were being waved above a cheering crowd. An angry speaker addressed the masses.

“We need to form a council of war,” he shouted, sounding hoarse from excitement. “The era of peace has ended. If the army attack us we will attack back. We say to the Egyptian army that the day might yet come when we tell it to leave Sinai.”

The crowd, demanding Mr Morsi’s return, drove off the guards, stormed the palace and raised another black flag on the roof. In all, five policemen and a soldier were killed across Sinai at the weekend. On Saturday afternoon, Mina Aboud Sharween, a priest serving el-Arish’s Coptic Christian community, was shot dead by two gunmen on a motorbike. All this went almost unnoticed in the international media.

Here is what the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, the organisation it set up and controls to run in elections, had to say in the immediate aftermath: “The party calls on the international community and international organisations and bodies, and all the free world, to intervene to stop further massacres and end military rule, so as not to create a new Syria in the Arab world.”

If it does not intend to take up arms against the new order, how could Egypt end up like Syria?

The New Syria. So much better than the old Syria.

Erdogan Squirms Over Egypt’s 2013 Revolution

TURKEY-ERDOGAN-USED-12-06-13By :

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, as one of the few world leaders to do so, strongly condemned the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He has called it “anti-democratic,” saying that the Brotherhood should be restored to power as soon as possible.

“Any attitude that can drag Egypt into confrontation should be avoided,” said the man who became infamous last month for setting riot police, armed with tear gas and water cannons, loose on peaceful protesters. “We expect that all politicians, Morsi and the prime minister in the first instance, will be immediately released.”

He went on to call the interim-administration, Egypt’s “so-called” rulers and added that general Al-Sisi had no right to complain about Turkey’s involvement in his country’s internal affairs. “We are expressing that we stand with the Egyptian people and our principles,” he said.

Apparently, those principles mean that it is perfectly fine to oppress opponents by systematically persecuting them and to kill christians on a scale seldom seen before, since that is what has happened in Egypt after disposed president Mohamed Morsi first came to power. But try and save a country’s secular nature and its religious minorities, and suddenly you are a menace to world peace.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has also weighed in. “I strongly condemn the massacre during the morning prayers in the name of basic human values that we have been defending,” he wrote on his Twitter account after it was reported that as many as 34 Muslim Brothers were killed in clashes with the military.  Whether those numbers are correct or not is apparently not a question of interest to the Turkish government. Reports that the Muslim Brotherswere armed are also brushed aside. The army is the enemy, the Brotherhood is an example to all Muslim democrats.

That is rather strange because it has already been conclusively proved that the Muslim Brothers are armed and that they even go so far as to shoot their fellow party members just so they can smear the army. See the video below for evidence. They are literally sacrificing their own people in order to reach their political goals:

 

Erdogan is not interested in such bloody, inconvenient facts. Like his fellow Islamists in Egypt, he chooses to attack the Egyptian army instead.

Read more at Front Page

Egyptian Protesters Criticize MB Rule and Obama Administration

IPT News
July 1, 2013

 

Egypt’s Highest Islamic Authority Throws Morsi Under the Bus

anti-morsi-protestBy Daniel Greenfield

This is significant because it means the chief Islamic authority in Egypt is no longer all that confident of a Thousand Year Caliphate under the Muslim Brotherhood or that Morsi will even stay in power. If Al Azhar really thought Morsi was a sure bet, they wouldn’t be hedging their bets now for fear that Morsi will be overthrown.

Morsi’s Islamist constitution turns Al Azhar into a virtual supreme court, but Al Azhar is now no longer certain that it will ever reap those spoils.

Egypt’s top Islamic body on Thursday called on President Mohammed Mursi to suspend a decree in which he claimed sweeping powers and demanded an unconditional dialogue between the president and his opponents.

The Al-Azhar institution said Mursi should “suspend the latest decree and stop using it,” in a statement a day after deadly protests between Mursi supporters and opponents, AFP reported.

That comes as Morsi has been forced to call in the Egyptian army to protect the presidential palace. Being forced to use the army is a sign of weakness and reverses some of the Muslim Brotherhood’s victories over the military. It reminds Morsi that his activists are not enough to stay in power. He needs the military and that gives the military power over him and over Egypt.