Islamic State gunmen shot and killed at least one Egyptian policeman near the Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the southern Sinai late yesterday. Several others were reportedly wounded. The group’s Sinai “province” is waging a low-grade insurgency against the Egyptian government and claims to have executed scores of attacks this year.
The Islamic State has claimed credit for bombings at two Coptic churches in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria earlier today. The attacks killed dozens of people and wounded approximately 100 others. The so-called caliphate has a history of targeting Christians in Iraq, Egypt and Libya.
The Islamic State threatened further attacks in its “war on polytheism,” meaning against Christians and Jews, in Egypt and elsewhere. The group and its predecessor, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), have assaulted Coptic Christians in the past.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri blasts the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in a newly-released audio message, saying the organization has adopted secular ways.
Hisham Ali Ashmawi, also known as Abu Umar al Muhajir, released an audio message earlier this month calling on Egyptian scholars to support jihadists in their fight against President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s government. Ashmawi, a former Egyptian special forces officer, leads an al Qaeda-linked group named Al Murabitoon.
Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed Al Sawah, an Egyptian held at Guantanamo since 2002, has been transferred to the Government of Bosnia. Despite compiling a lengthy dossier as an expert bomb maker on behalf of al Qaeda, US officials recommended that he be transferred. Al Sawah became a prolific source on al Qaeda and other detainees during his time in custody, and Joint Task Force – Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) concluded that his fellow jihadists may seek retribution if he tried to rejoin their ranks.
The Islamic State’s Sinai “province” claimed responsibility for a bombing at a hotel in the Sinai earlier today. The group continues to run a prolific insurgency and has proven it is capable of committing mass casualty terrorist attacks against civilians as well.
The Islamic State’s so-called Sinai “province” has issued at least three official claims of responsibility in the downing of a Russian airliner. The group has not explained how it allegedly brought down the jet, however. Egyptian officials dismiss the claims as “propaganda.” America’s top intelligence official has said a terrorist attack is “unlikely,” but possible.