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Top Egyptian Terror Group Claims Loyalty To ISIS

November 12, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Top Egyptian Terror Group Claims Loyalty To ISIS Image courtesy of businessinsider.com

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ISIS has a new ally in Egypt, according to a YouTube message posted Sunday.
In the audio message, the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or ABM, allegedly claims its allegiance to ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, according to CNN.

The 10-minute clip blames tyrants and their “Jewish agents and their allies” for decades of Muslim suffering.

The message labels ISIS “the emergence of a new dawn.”

If confirmed this would indicate a an expanded reach for the deadliest group in Egypt.

Since 2012, ABM’s attacks have grown more daring and sophisticated. The group has killed hundreds of Egyptian police officers and soldiers.

The largest attack took place last month in the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 31 soldiers.

Analysts put the Jihadist group’s numbers at from the hundreds to around one thousand.

To date ABM’s attacks have exclusively targeted the Egyptian government, however if this report is confirmed, there is growing fear that an association with ISIS could expand the threat to civilian and tourist sites.

Egyptian security forces have been aggressively battling ABM since the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsy in 2013.

Numerous checkpoints have been established throughout the northern Sinai to prevent the movement of weapons and fighters.

The threat to security forces operating in this area is so severe that at times, a shoot-on-sight curfew goes into effect between Arish, the largest city in northern Sinai, and the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, according to government officials.
After October’s attack, the government authorized a three-month curfew for the northern part of the peninsula.

Officials in Egypt blame Hamas in Gaza for aiding the militant group, which Hamas denies.
Recently, the government relocated more than a thousand families away from the border in a move to eliminate cover for any tunnels between Egypt and Gaza and to create a buffer zone.
According to CN, AMB first gained a foothold by exploiting the deep mistrust between local Bedouins and Egyptian authorities.
The state of fear created by ABM eventually began to alienate many of northern Sinai’s residents.

ABM lost support after assassinating Bedouin tribal leaders who disagreed with their practices and beheading men accused of being informants.

ISIS or al Qaeda
Before ISIS’ rise to power, ABM was often associated with al Qaeda. Similar messages on social media proclaimed the group’s allegiance to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, only later to be denied by the militant group.

In an article in Atlantic Council by Zack Gold, he said there “appears to be an internal tussle in ABM over support for these international organizations.” He also argued that if the militant group associates itself with ISIS or al Qaeda then it would lose its status as a “local hero” and become a “foreign agent.”

Association with ISIS could also further damage ABM’s image with most Egyptians. Egypt relies heavily on tourism and any organization that threatens this source of income risks loss of support.

Egyptian State website Ahram Online published an article that reported ABM denied any allegiance to ISIS.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the department will assess the issue. Officials have yet to confirm the authenticity of the video.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the department will assess the issue. Officials have yet to confirm the authenticity of the video.

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