Egyptian security sources today announced the arrest of a top jihadist wanted in connection with attacks against Egyptian personnel. The wanted jihadist was identified by Egypt’s State Information Service as Adel Mohammed Ibrahim, also known as Adel Habara.
Adel Mohammed Ibrahim is believed to have led the Aug. 19 execution of over 20 Egyptian policemen in the Sinai, the Associated Press reported. Although no group has claimed credit for the attack, security sources said that Adel Mohammed Ibrahim was tied to an al Qaeda-linked group responsible for it.
The announcement of Adel Mohammed Ibrahim’s arrest came a day after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant called on Egyptian Muslims to wage “jihad” against the army.
Earlier this year Adel Mohammed Ibrahim, who had been arrested along with two other jihadists, was “sentenced to death in absentia for killing soldiers in the Nile Delta last year.” Xinhua identified the two other jihadists as Mosbeh Soliman and Ahmed Mosbeh.
“The terrorists were arrested in their homes in Arish where [a] quantity of weapons and bombs were found,” a source told Xinhua.
In addition to the arrests of the three wanted jihadists, Egyptian authorities today announced that a terror plot targeting a ship traveling through the Suez Canal had failed. According to Reuters, at least two explosions were heard today when a Panamanian-flagged ship traveled through the canal.
Since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi on July 3, there have been near-daily attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, which have left dozens dead. On Aug. 23, the Egyptian army claimed that recent operations by Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula have led to the deaths of 78 militants. Thirty-two of those killed were said to be non-Egyptians.
Along with the increase in attacks in the Sinai, there have been a plethora of statements from jihadists in response to the ongoing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari (also known as Muhammad al Murshidi), an official in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), recently charged the Egyptian government with seeking “to return Egypt to the era of oppression, tyranny and the domination of the security and intelligence agencies.”
On Aug. 17, jihadist ideologue Abu Sa’ad al ‘Amili posted a series of tweets to his Twitter account urging Egyptian Muslims to prepare for an “open war.” Likewise, Abdullah Muhammad Mahmoud of the jihadist Dawa’at al-Haq Foundation for Studies and Research warned Egyptian Muslims, in an article posted to jihadist forums on Aug. 14, that “if you don’t do jihad today, then only blame yourselves tomorrow.”
Similarly, on Aug. 15, Abu Hafs al Maqdisi, the leader of the Gaza-based Jaish al Ummah (Army of the Nation), called on Egyptians to wage “jihad” against Egyptian army commander General Abdul Fattah el Sisi. Four days later, al Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, urged Egyptian Muslims to “pick up arms and defend yourself.”
And on Aug. 22, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai released a statement that called on Muslims to fight the “apostate” Egyptian army. The communiqué was particularly notable as last fall the group said: “[T]he army and the police are not our targets and that our weapons are directed at the enemies and the enemies of our Ummah the Jews.” More recently, in mid-May, the jihadist group said: “[T]he target of the Salafist Jihadist current in Sinai is the Zionist enemy and its operations are directed to them, and the Egyptian soldiers are not a target for us.”
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