A little more than one week after the Islamic State released a video featuring the beheading of an American photojournalist, Ansar Jerusalem has released a video online showing four Egyptian civilians being executed in the same manner. The video marks an escalation in the tactics Ansar Jerusalem is willing to broadcast in its propaganda.
Ansar Jerusalem says that, contrary to claims made by Egyptian security officials, Shadi el Menai has not been killed and is not the group’s leader. Ansar Jerusalem says the Egyptian government does not even know who the real leader of the group is.
There are reports that Shadi el Menai, a leader in near Ansar Jerusalem, has been killed in the northern Sinai. His death has not been confirmed. Indeed, little is known about el Menai’s precise role in Ansar Jerusalem.
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If Ansar Jerusalem takes credit for today’s suicide attacks, it would be the group’s first claimed attack since bombing a tourist bus in Taba in mid-February. In addition, the two bombings would be the fifth and sixth suicide attacks by the jihadist group since September 2013.
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It is unclear whether the suspected jihadist is linked to Ansar Jerusalem. At least four AJ fighters are known to have fought in Syria prior to returning to Egypt, where they died.
Ansar Jerusalem has yet to comment on today’s reported events. Since 2011, the Sinai-based jihadist group has confirmed dead only 25 named members.