Sinai jihadist group accuses Egyptian army of lying about operations

On Aug. 9, four members of the Salafi jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) were killed as they were preparing to fire rockets toward Israel. Ansar Jerusalem and the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem soon issued statements alleging that an Israeli drone with permission from Egyptian authorities had targeted and killed the jihadists.

In a statement issued to jihadist forums on Aug. 10, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai similarly accused the Egyptian army of working more in the interests of the United States and Israel than Egypt and its people. The statement, which was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, also praised the slain jihadists, who were buried on Aug. 10, as “four heroic mujahideen.” In addition, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya referred to Ansar Jerusalem as “our brothers.”

Al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai also slammed Egypt army spokesman Ahmed Ali for “lying” about the existence of Israeli drones in the Sinai. On Aug. 3, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai had issued a statement alleging that Israeli drones were operating in the Sinai. Two days later, the Egyptian army responded in a statement denouncing the claims of the Salafi jihadist group.

In a separate statement released on Aug. 11, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai denounced Egyptian army operations in al Thoma village. On the evening of Aug. 10, the statement said, army helicopters “bombed al-Thoma village … which led to the killing of two citizens and injuring four others, as well as damaging houses and properties.”

According to the statement, the army operation in al Thoma was “random” and an attempt “to delude the public” into thinking the Egyptian army, not Israel, was responsible for the killing of the four Ansar Jerusalem members on Aug. 9. Al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya went on to say that the army failed to “specify a target.” “Most of the bombing hit the road and the sides of the houses, and those martyred were hit by rocket shrapnel while they were in the guest houses,” the statement alleged.

The Salafi group further charged that other army claims were “outright lies,” including allegations that those targeted were tied to the attack on a Rafah military outpost in August 2012 that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, and the recent kidnapping of seven Egyptian security personnel. In addition, the group rejected army claims that 25 jihadists were killed or injured.

“We don’t know what bad movie this liar is talking about, for the result of this criminal act is the fall of two martyrs,” the statement said. The communiqué identified the two dead men as Abdullah Ahmad Salim, a construction worker, and Jihad Jabr al-Suwirki, a day laborer.

Along with the statement, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya released a number of photos from the alleged strikes in al Thoma.

al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya - August 11, 2013, Al Thoma Village.jpg

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