Ansar Jerusalem: 'The war has yet to start'
In a video released to jihadist forums on Dec. 1, Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) showed some of its recent attacks in North Sinai against Egyptian security personnel along with footage of some of its fighters training. As in previous videos from the Sinai-based jihadist group, clips from al Qaeda figures are featured.
The new video, which has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, contains clips from former al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi and from Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) spokesman Abu Muhammad al 'Adnani al Shami. In late August, the ISIS spokesman called on Egyptians to take up arms and fight the Egyptian army.
In the portion that focuses on the group's training, fighters are seen firing guns and practicing encircling targets such as enemy vehicles. At one point, the Ansar Jerusalem fighters are shown with al Qaeda's flag planted in the ground beside them as they fire their weapons. This flag was first used by al Qaeda in Iraq but has been adopted by al Qaeda affiliates and associated groups.
Included among the attacks featured in the new video is the Nov. 20 car bombing in North Sinai that killed 11 Egyptian security personnel. Multiple angles of the attack are shown, and Ansar Jerusalem fighters can be heard chanting "Allahu Akbar" following the explosion.
Other featured incidents include machine gun attacks on buses transporting Egyptian soldiers and an RPG attack on an armored vehicle. In one instance, an Ansar Jerusalem fighter is seen firing on a helicopter patrolling the area. In another, a fighter is seen writing on a vehicle: "Ansar Bayt al Maqdis, the War Has Yet to Start."
Since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi on July 3, there have been at least 256 reported attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, most of which were carried out against Egyptian security forces and assets, according to data maintained by The Long War Journal.
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." In the same statement, the group took credit for a number of attacks on Egyptian security personnel in the Sinai Peninsula. 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." And on Sept. 28, Ansar Jerusalem released a video that included footage from some of its recent attacks on Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula.
Ansar Jerusalem has also conducted a few attacks outside of its normal base of operations in North Sinai in recent months. On Sept. 5, the jihadist group carried out an assassination attempt in Nasr City on Egypt's interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim. A month later, an Ansar Jerusalem suicide bomber unleashed a blast at the South Sinai Security Directorate in el Tor, which killed three security personnel and injured more than 45. On Oct. 19, the Sinai-based jihadist group targeted a military intelligence building in the city of Ismailia. And on Nov. 19, the group claimed responsibility for the shooting attack on Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Mabrouk, a senior national security officer, in Cairo.