Egyptian army claims successes as jihadists allege 'massacre'


Egypt Army Sinai, Ansar Bayt al Maqdis September 15.jpgAt a press conference in Cairo on Sept. 15, Egyptian army spokesman Ahmed Ali announced that recent operations by Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula have led to the arrests of 309 Islamist militants since July. During his remarks, Ali said that the existence of terrorist and criminal hot spots in North Sinai is a challenge and serious threat to Egyptian national security that has the potential to undermine regional and global security as well.

Ali said that since June 30, "terrorist elements" in the Sinai have increased operations against Egyptian security posts and personnel, among other targets. In response to the attacks, Egyptian forces have raided hundreds of homes, taken control of a number of weapon caches, and seized a variety of weaponry including RPGs, mortars, and anti-aircraft missiles, he said.

The army spokesman, who said operations in the Sinai will continue, also identified the town of al-Mahdiyya near Rafah as a stronghold for the jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis). In response to claims by jihadist groups, such as Ansar Jerusalem and al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya, that recent army operations in the Sinai have targeted mosques and killed innocent people, including women, children, and elderly men, Ali said that none of them were targets.

Ali further charged that some of the Islamist militants operating in the Sinai have been coordinating with their counterparts in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. He called on Hamas to be more aggressive in securing its side of the Egypt-Gaza border, as Egyptian authorities have announced the discovery of booby traps along the border with wires running back into Gaza.

"Egypt deserves more than the effort we are seeing from the other side [Hamas] to secure the border," the army spokesman said.

Meanwhile, in a statement released to jihadist forums on Sept. 15, Ansar Jerusalem alleged that the Egyptian army was responsible for the deaths of at least seven civilians, including four children, in a "massacre" in the Sinai on Sept. 13. "We in Ansar Jerusalem and all the mujahideen in Sinai in Egypt as a whole stress that the blood of innocent Muslims will not go in vain," read the communiqué, which was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

The Sinai-based jihadist group, which promised a "painful" response, released a number of photos of the alleged incident along with the statement.

On Sept. 10, Ansar Jerusalem had contended in a statement released to jihadist forums that the army and police in Egypt are "spearhead[ing]" an "all-out war against Islam in Egypt." Notably, the jihadist group claimed that they were aware of the targets security forces intended to strike. Thus, "the mujahideen ... undertook a studied evacuation operation that would make this operation lose its goal," the statement boasted. The communiqué, which accused security forces of carrying out a number of "crimes," concluded by declaring that "it is obligatory to repulse them [the army] and fight them until the command of Allah is fulfilled."



Advertisement:


READER COMMENTS: "Egyptian army claims successes as jihadists allege 'massacre'"

Posted by Bruceben9 at September 16, 2013 1:33 AM ET:

So the jihadists complain of a massacre. That is almost funny. They can take a flyin' leap. No one cares or believes anything they say.

Posted by blert at September 16, 2013 2:03 AM ET:

Because of the surfeit of Iranian supplied weapons, the fanatics had too many to shift around. Guns are cheap, tunnels are expensive.

Without a permissive eye, the fanatics will have to scale back.

It's a certainty that family kin spilled the beans WRT anti-fanatic operations. It was unwise to admit so in a propaganda outburst.

At some point soon, the EA will certainly engage in a mole hunt. The Interior Minister is going to insist on it.

In the meantime, the smuggling business is going to enter a severe slump after the golden times under Morsi.

Repressing the Muslim Brotherhood has always been Job One for the Egyptian Army -- going all the way back to Nasser.

Posted by My2Cents at September 16, 2013 3:08 PM ET:

Accidental injury and death of civilians are a fact of war in urban combat, even if none of the sides are using them as human shields.


If the Egyptian army has killed several hundred jihadists as they claim, and 7 civilians as the jihadists claim, then the army is definitely trying hard to avoid civilian casualties.

Posted by gb at September 16, 2013 10:18 PM ET:

I mentioned this hypocrisy a few weeks ago, when the Jihadi's executed twenty bound Egyptian police officers. My point was that unless the Egyptian army starts acting like the Syrian army, they would not gain the threatening respect of the jihadists. Let them complain, what goes around comes around.

Posted by Matt at September 17, 2013 11:34 PM ET:

When the US had the exercises the scenario was always the same a war with Israel. Lets train for other missions, nah. Perhaps different scenarios which were more realistic such as CT and COIN. It is their operation but look at the US ROE in Afghanistan. Short term success, long term failure trying to kill your way to victory. You need a WHAM policy to bring the local population with you and to isolate them from the insurgents otherwise it is like fighting zombies.