The Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center (ITMC), a jihadist media unit tied to the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, yesterday called for jihadists to strike the Egyptian army.
In the communique, translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the jihadist media group claimed that Egyptian soldiers recently committed a “massacre” in the Sheikh Zuweid area. The ITMC appeared to be referencing an incident from Sept. 13 that, according to the jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis), resulted in the deaths of seven civilians, including four children.
The statement further denounced efforts by Egyptian security forces to stem the flow of goods and people in and out of Gaza. “[T]he criminal butcher Abdel Fattah el Sisi” has increased the siege on Gaza, the statement charged.
The ITMC statement also criticized the Muslim Brotherhood. “He [Mohammed Morsi] gave no indications, neither he nor the Brotherhood, that they wish to establish an Islamic State where the rule is for Allah,” the ITMC said.
Notably, the ITMC said that the current climate in Egypt is a “great historic opportunity to regain awareness regarding the betrayal of the regimes that are established in the land of the Muslims, and their sinful soldiers.” In addition, the media unit said that now is a chance to show “the necessity of confrontation and waging battle and inciting to fight those criminals.”
The statement concluded by calling on “the mujahideen to hit without fail so as to thwart those criminals from among the Egyptian army.” In addition, the statement urged Muslims to support the fighters “because this is the only path for achieving stability and security in Egypt, and so as to restore Egypt as the safe gate for jihad in Palestine and a supporter of the coming war … to liberate the blessed al-Aqsa mosque and expel the Jews from Palestine without return.”
The latest statement from the ITMC was released two days after the group released a 13-minute video purporting to show some of the destruction from recent Egyptian army operations in the Sinai.
Since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi on July 3, there have been near-daily attacks by Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula, which have left dozens dead. On Aug. 23, the Egyptian army claimed that recent operations by Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula have led to the deaths of 78 militants. Thirty-two of those killed were said to be non-Egyptians. On Sept. 15, an Egyptian army spokesman claimed that over 300 Islamist militants had been arrested in the Sinai since July. He also said that 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 antiaircraft missiles.
Jihadist statements regarding crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood
Along with the increase in attacks in the Sinai, there has been a plethora of statements from jihadists in response to the ongoing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari (also known as Muhammad al Murshidi), an official in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), recently charged that the Egyptian government was seeking “to return Egypt to the era of oppression, tyranny and the domination of the security and intelligence agencies.”
On Aug. 17, jihadist ideologue Abu Sa’ad al ‘Amili posted a series of tweets to his Twitter account urging Egyptian Muslims to prepare for an “open war.” Likewise, Abdullah Muhammad Mahmoud of the jihadist Dawa’at al-Haq Foundation for Studies and Research warned Egyptian Muslims, in an article posted to jihadist forums on Aug. 14, that “if you don’t do jihad today, then only blame yourselves tomorrow.”
Similarly, on Aug. 15, Abu Hafs al Maqdisi, the leader of the Gaza-based Jaish al Ummah (Army of the Nation), called on Egyptians to wage “jihad” against Egyptian army commander General Abdul Fattah el Sisi. Four days later, al Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, urged Egyptian Muslims to “pick up arms and defend yourself.” In addition, on Aug. 30, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant called on Egyptians to wage ‘jihad’ against army.
And on Aug. 22, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai released a statement that called on Muslims to fight the “apostate” Egyptian army. The communiqué was particularly notable as last fall the group said: “[T]he 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.” More recently, in mid-May, the jihadist group said: “[T]he target of the Salafist Jihadist current in Sinai is the Zionist enemy and its operations are directed to them, and the Egyptian soldiers are not a target for us.”
More recently, on Sept. 10, Ansar Jerusalem declared that “it is obligatory to repulse them [the Egyptian army] and fight them until the command of Allah is fulfilled.” Similarly, on Sept. 15, the Salafi jihadist group declared: “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.”