The State Department has designated Ibrahim al Banna as a terrorist. Al Banna has served as an al Qaeda official in Yemen since the 1990s. He originally joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and has been one of Ayman al Zawahiri’s loyalists for decades.
Ahmed Salama Mabruk, a veteran Egyptian jihadist, is now a key figure in Al Nusrah Front. Mabruk’s dossier stretches back to the early 1980s, when he was first imprisoned following the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. He reportedly oversaw Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda networks in the 1990s, before being captured in a CIA-led manhunt. He was released from an Egyptian prison following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, was released from an Egyptian prison earlier this week. He was imprisoned in Egypt in 1999, but released following the uprisings in 2011. He quickly became a prolific advocate for al Qaeda’s jihadist ideology. Along with other al Qaeda-linked jihadists, he helped orchestrate the protest outside the US Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012.
On Oct. 20, AQAP released a biography for Mustafa Ali, an Egyptian who was killed in a US drone strike in late 2013. The group says he sought “knowledge” from Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of Ayman al Zawahiri, while imprisoned in Egypt.
Mohammed al Zawahiri was arrested in Egypt. He became a well-known figure in post-Mubarak Egypt and openly advocated al Qaeda’s ideology. He has numerous reported ties to terrorists and helped incite the Sept. 11, 2012 US Embassy protest in Cairo.
The State Department said 21 US embassies and consulates will be closed on Sunday, Aug. 4, in response to a suspected threat from an al Qaeda affiliate. No specific details about the threat have been provided. Al Qaeda-linked jihadists assaulted multiple diplomatic facilities in September 2012.
A group calling itself Ansar al Sharia Egypt has announced its formation in the Sinai and has threatened violence in the wake of recent events. It is not clear if the organization is truly a new front, or simply a covert part of an already established group with the same name.
The younger brother of al Qaeda’s emir issued a statement on July 2 saying that a confrontation inside Egypt would favor the country’s jihadists. How Salafi jhadists respond to the ongoing crisis remains to be seen.