A new jihadist group that calls itself Ansar al Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula has announced its formation and has vowed to “fulfill the oath” of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Ansar al Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula made the announcement in an unsigned statement released on the Sinam al Islam jihadist web forum on Dec. 20. The statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
“With this message we send you the good tidings of the birth of the group ‘Ansar al-Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula,’ and we pledge unto Allah the Great and Almighty to do our best to fight the corrupt regime and its henchmen among the Jews, the Americans, and those around them,” the statement said.
The terror group pledged “to fulfill the oath of the martyr of the Ummah, our Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may Allah have mercy on him: ‘I swear by Allah the Great who raised the sky without pillars, that America nor those who live in America will ever enjoy security as long as we don’t live it in reality in Palestine and before all the disbelieving armies get out of the Land of Muhammad ….'”
Ansar al Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula blamed the “suffering” of the Egyptian people on the government of former President Hosni Mubarak, “his criminal allies, and what is called Israel, the usurpers of the land of the Palestine,” as well as ‘the great enemy of Islam, the cursed ‘America.'”
It is unclear if Ansar al Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula is the same as another group that calls itself Al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula. The latter group announced its existence this summer when it released pamphlets in the town of Al Arish in the northern Sinai. The group carried out several bombings this year against a natural gas pipeline that runs from Egypt to Israel.
Al Qaeda in the Sinai is also thought to have been involved in a series of attacks in August near the Israeli resort town of Eliat that killed eight Israelis.
In its statement, Ansar al Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula lauded the attacks near Eliat and praised “the masked martyr Salim Muhammad Jom’ah … who is only a hero who moved a lot of the laggards in order to plant fear in the Jews through the operation of Umm al-Rashrash [Eilat].”
Security in the Sinai Peninsula has deteriorated since the popular uprising last winter that resulted in former President Mubarak’s ouster. Hundreds of Islamists, many from Ayman al Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Group, have been freed from prisons, and some are thought to have returned to support terror groups.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.