New jihadist group emerges in the Egyptian Sinai

Another jihadist group in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has announced its formation. Today, the Jund al Sharia, or the Soldiers of Islamic Law, released a statement on jihadist Internet forums and issued a set of five demands to the Egyptian government and the US. The statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Jund al Sharia said it was formed by Egyptians who seek to impose Islamic law throughout Egypt. The group opposes the political process, which it describes as a “trap set for them by the secularists, and behind them the global forces of disbelief led by America, and its henchmen from amongst the remnants of treacherous military council,” as well as Egyptian clerics who sanctioned the elections.

The statement also said that some of its members waged jihad “in the East and West” before returning to Egypt to fight “the tyrants”:

A few of them were able to deploy to the arenas of jihad in the East and West, because they know that the Shariah of Allah will never be implemented using disbelieving, Western means, but that it will be implemented, Allah permitting, sooner rather than later, with jihad and sacrificing one’s life and money. Then, a few of these few deployed to do jihad against the tyrants in Egypt from inside the [Nile] valley or from beloved Sinai, which we consider as a blessed part of the Levant of jihad and epics.

Jund al Sharia made five demands of the Egyptian government and the US, which are summarized below:

  1. Establish Islamic law throughout Egypt, beginning in the Sinai.
  2. The release of “all the captives and prisoners and those under trials for jihad.”
  3. Security forces halt activities against jihadists, and focus on implementing sharia and “the fighting of the Jews.”
  4. The release of “Muslim sisters from the monasteries of the Crusaders.”
  5. The withdrawal of US peacekeeping forces in the Sinai.

Jund al Sharia gave the Egyptian government until the end of Ramadan to implement the demands. The group gave the US just three days to comply, or it will “regret it.”

Jund al Sharia is the latest jihadist group to form in the Sinai. The Mujahideen Shura Council, and al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula and its military arm, Ansar al Jihad, announced their formation in the past year. [See LWJ reports, Mujahideen Shura Council calls attack in Israel a ‘gift’ to Zawahiri and al Qaeda ‘brothers’, and Ansar al Jihad swears allegiance to al Qaeda’s emir, for more information]. Additionally, the Egyptian Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad are entrenched in the country.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Tony says:

    Does the US have peacekeeping forces in Sinai? If not, one of their demands is already met. If so, that might be a bigger story.

  • blert says:

    To bring you up to speed: as a critical condition of the Sadat-Begin Treaty the US Army ALWAYS maintains at least one battalion of peacekeepers/ observers in the Sinai at all times.
    Other nations also contribute battalions — on rotation.
    ONLY the USA is stipulated to be perpetually present.
    It replaces the UN observation force that fled the Sinai in 1967, per Nasser’s threats, just weeks ahead of the Seven Days War.
    This is the force that observes the critical elements of the treaty — especially the absence of tanks, BMPs and heavy artillery within this semi-demilitarized zone.
    Should Egypt introduce these elements the treaty is broken.
    This explains the letter to Israel — now in the news — from the Egyptian’s Tel Aviv embassy — proclaiming no change in status WRT the Treaty.

  • Neonmeat says:

    These guys sound a little crazy, their demands for one are rather vague and confused:
    ‘The release of “Muslim sisters from the monasteries of the Crusaders.”‘
    Er, what now?

  • Tony says:

    Thanks blert. I wasn’t aware, but it makes as much sense as anything in that part of the world.

  • K says:

    With regard to the “sisters in monasteries” bit- a conspiracy theory has been floating around Salafist circles in Egypt. Apparently, some Coptic women allegedly converted to Islam and have been held by Christian officials in Coptic churches to prevent them from practicing Islam. While church officials have denied this, it hasn’t stopped Salafists from agitating on the issue. Some sectarian clashes in Cairo were motivated by this in May 2011, I believe.

  • appleturnover says:

    To follow on what “K” just said… one of the supposed coptic (christian) converters to islam came on TV and pronounced that she did not convert, was not held captive by coptic officials, and the rumors were false.


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