On Saturday, three Egyptian policemen were killed in the city of el-Arish in the North Sinai governorate. At least one other policeman was injured in the attack, which was blamed on jihadists.
Today, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai issued a statement to jihadist forums, titled “Statement from al-Salafiyya al-Jihadiyya in Sinai Regarding the Recent Violations by the Police.” The statement was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
According to al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai, the killing of the policemen was in response to the recent killing of four people in the Sinai by Egyptian police in two separate incidents that “[did] not warrant the use of force and firearms.” The group further alleged that following one of the incidents the police had “inhumanely dragged” the body of one of the dead.
“These incidents led to a state of unprecedented turmoil in the street and a demand for trial and punishment,” the group claimed. “The concerned agencies met these legitimate demands with ignorance, which increased the state of anger and led to an incident in which a police patrol was targeted and its elements killed.”
The statement further stated that jihadist groups were not behind the attack, which killed the three policemen. “[W]e announced before that the army and the police are not our targets and that our weapons are directed at the enemies and the enemies of our Ummah the Jews,” the group said.
According to al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya, many of the recent incidents in the Sinai are planned by elements tied to the former regime of Hosni Mubarak. “These events are not random, but are planned,” the statement said. “They are planned by agencies that want to resume their control and their former oppression and torture, and that want to give themselves a justification in front of public opinion to return to their former repressive practices.”
The group’s message concluded with a warning for “the external Jewish enemy”: “[Y]our mujahideen sons, by the grace of Allah, are lying in wait for them to cut off their limbs, foil their conspiracies and destroy their dreams.”
Since the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, a number of Salafi jihadist groups linked to al Qaeda have sprouted up in the Egyptian Sinai. The terror groups have conducted attacks against Israel, international peacekeepers in the Sinai, Egyptian forces, and a pipeline transporting natural gas to Israel and Jordan. Israeli intelligence believes that most of the attacks originating in the Sinai have been carried out by Ansar Jerusalem, also known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.