Islamic State attacks in the Sinai persist despite Egyptian military operations against it.
The Islamic State’s Sinai Wilayah has released a short video showing a cadre of fighters renewing their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Their ringleader is a masked man identified as Abu Jafar al-Ansari.
The ninth issue of the Islamic State’s Rumiyah (“Rome”) magazine features an interview with the group’s “emir” in Egypt. He concedes that the jihadists’ church bombings and ideology are not popular inside Egypt. Regardless, Rumiyah attempts to justify the Islamic State’s anti-Christian terror.
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.
Egyptian officials say that Ashraf Ali Hassanein al Gharabli, a commander in the Islamic State’s so-called Sinai ‘province,’ was killed during a shootout in Cairo. He once belonged to Ansar Bayt al Maqdis, which split into separate factions. Whereas Al Gharabli joined the Islamic State, some of his comrades remained loyal to al Qaeda.
The Islamic State said that Tomislav Salopek was killed after the deadline given to Egypt to comply with its demands expired.
The video is just the latest ultimatum given by the Islamic State in which the jihadists threaten to kill a foreign hostage if their demands are not met.
The attack, which comes after coordinated assaults in the Sinai earlier this month, was claimed by the “Islamic State in Egypt” and not its “Sinai Province.” The Islamic State warned Muslims to avoid similar locations as they are “legitimate targets.”