In recent days some Egyptian media outlets have reported on alleged claims by the Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis). For example, on the evening of Dec. 24, media reports from Egypt said Ansar Jerusalem had claimed responsibility for the recent bombing in Mansoura that killed more than a dozen people. And yesterday, reports stated that the jihadist group had denied responsibility for a bombing in Nasr City on Dec. 26 that wounded at least five people.
While Ansar Jerusalem eventually took responsibility for the Mansoura attack on Dec. 25, the abovementioned reports in the Egyptian media said the claims of responsibility originated from the group’s Twitter account.
However, the group has no official Twitter account as of today. In fact, in late October the group issued a statement in which it said it was not operating any social media accounts and that any purporting to be the group’s account were unofficial. “[T]he only source of our statements and productions are the jihadi forums from al-Fajr Media Center (Shumukh al-Islam Networking and al-Fida’ Islamic Network),” the group said.
The al Fajr Media Center is a key distributor of al Qaeda’s propaganda online. “Al-Fajr maintains communication with representatives of all the affiliates, and therefore, it can facilitate the rapid transfer of information between these groups and pass on information it has gathered,” the SITE Intelligence Group noted in an August report.
Yet there is more than just the October denial to expose the alleged account (@Ansar_elmakds), which is currently protected. Indeed, the account, which first tweeted on Nov. 27, itself notes on multiple occasions that it is not official.
Additionally, while the profile picture for the account uses Ansar Jerusalem’s logo, its background photo is of fighters from the Gaza-based Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem.
Finally, when Egyptian media reports on Dec. 24 claimed Ansar Jerusalem had taken responsibility for the Mansoura attack noting claims on the purported account, users on jihadist forums started encouraging each other to report the unofficial account. Jihadist-linked Twitter accounts even provided simple photo guides on how to report it.