On Nov. 10, an unidentified jihadist from Ansar Bayt al Maqdis (ABM), otherwise known as Ansar Jerusalem, declared his group’s allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who leads the Islamic State. As The Long War Journal reported at the time, ABM quickly began marketing itself on its official Twitter feed as the Islamic State’s wilayat, meaning province (or state), in the Sinai.
The group’s Twitter feed was subsequently taken down, but quickly replaced as part of a regular cat and mouse game played by the social media company and the jihadists.
Earlier today, the Sinai jihadists returned to Twitter with a new video that shows the group again marketing itself as the Islamic State’s official wilayat. The banner shown above was used to advertise the video on Twitter.
The video, which is nearly 30 minutes long, shows the Islamic State’s clear influence in terms of branding and production style. It is possible, if not likely, that Islamic State media operatives created the video.
Little is known about the ABM faction that swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi earlier this week. And the organization’s latest production does not offer any additional details on how the relationship is actually organized.
According to credible reports, while an ABM faction in the Sinai has been itching to join the Islamic State since earlier this year, another ABM group in the Nile Valley remains loyal to al Qaeda’s senior leadership.
Baghdadi and the Islamic State are attempting to usurp the authority of any non-aligned jihadists by claiming that, once the group’s “caliphate” has spread into new a territory, existing jihadist organizations are nullified. This is the significance of the Sinai jihadists being rebranded as the Islamic State’s official arm inside Egypt. According to Baghdadi and his supporters, now that the Islamic State has a presence inside the Sinai, all other jihadists and even all other Muslims who live there owe their loyalty to Baghdadi’s representatives.
In an audio message released earlier this week, Baghdadi said that his group would identify a leader for each one of its so-called provinces, including in the Sinai. It is not immediately clear if any such leader is shown in the video.
Towards the beginning of the new video, as well as in scenes thereafter, the Sinai jihadists execute alleged spies in a brutal fashion. For some unknown reason, however, the group decided not to show scenes from a previous video produced this past summer in which the Sinai jihadists beheaded several men accused of being spies. ABM’s beheading video was likely influenced by the Islamic State, which had decapitated an American journalist shortly beforehand. [See LWJ report, Ansar Jerusalem beheads 4 Egyptians accused of being Israeli ‘spies’.]
Much of the Sinai jihadists’ new video focuses on the group’s attacks against Egyptian security forces, using mortars, grenades, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other weapons in its assaults. Special effects have been added to highlight the devastation wrought by some of the jihadists’ attacks.
The video highlights the jihadists’ animosity for the US (showing a clip of President Obama), Israel, as well as the Egyptian government and military.
A screen shot of the Twitter page on which the video was first posted can be seen below. Also shown are various pictures taken from scenes in the video.
A Twitter feed representing ABM in the Sinai reappeared online earlier today:
The video shows Sinai jihadists firing mortars:
Multiple scenes show IEDs destroying Egyptian security vehicles and other targets. This scene showed a vehicle immediately after an IED was detonated:
The scene immediately above was replayed in slow-motion and backwards to emphasize the devastation caused by the jihadists’ attack:
A jihadist is shown with his face obscured to protect his identity. He is wearing a shirt that is made to look like the Islamic State’s flag:
A jihadist raises an Islamic State black banner over a tank:
A jihadist speaks, kneeling before arms and ammunition, for a couple of minutes towards the end of the video:
A short clip of President Obama is shown in the video:
The Sinai jihadists have launched attacks against Israel and the group’s animosity for Israel is made clear once again in the new video: