|Photo by: IDF Spokesman’s Office|
'Sinai jihadist groups must stop attacking Israel'
By JOANNA PARASZCZUK
Leaders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad warn Sinai groups not to attack Israel out of solidarity with Palestinian resistance in Gaza.
Leaders of the terrorist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad have communicated with
armed jihadist groups in Sinai to prevent them attacking Israel at this time,
pan-Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reported on Wednesday.
Jihadist groups Egyptian Islamic Jihad contacted were named as Ansar Bayit
al-Maqdis, Salafi Jihadi and Ahl al-Sunna wal Gama’a.
groups had been plotting to attack Israel by firing rockets at Israeli towns,
out of solidarity with the “Palestinian resistance” in the Gaza Strip, the
report cited “informed sources” as saying.
Egyptian security forces are
concerned these groups intend to target Israel, which could provoke an Israeli
response and implicate Egypt in the ongoing armed conflict in Gaza, the sources
“Official bodies asked leaders of jihadist groups to intervene to
dissuade armed groups in Sinai from targeting Israel because of the risks this
poses,” Al-Hayat said.
Magdy Salem, prominent Egyptian jihadist leader
and head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group the Vanguards of Conquest, told
Al-Hayat contacts had been made between the groups but said they had not been at
made at the behest of government officials.
Instead, Salem said that the
leaders of the jihadist groups themselves had made the move “out of regard for
the serious nature of the situation.”
“We contacted the main leaders of
jihadist groups in Sinai and talked with them about the seriousness of the
and they fully understand and pledged not to embark on any
rocket fire into Israel from Sinai,” Al-Hayat quoted Salem as
Salem said that Egyptian Islamic Jihad had not acted as a
mediator between Cairo and the Sinai jihadist groups but acted as “advocates for
the people of Gaza.”
The Vanguards of Conquest leader dismissed Israeli
allegations that several rockets have been fired from Sinai during the current
conflict. “Israel resorts to these lies in order to pressurize the Egyptian
regime to speed up the cease fire,” the Vanguards of Conquest leader
Salem admitted, however, that there had been “some individual
actions here and there” in Sinai.
Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which merged
with al-Qaida in 2001 and was led by Dr.
Ayman al-Zawahiri (the current
leader of al-Qaida) until 2011, has previously said the only way to resolve the
Israeli- Palestinian conflict is via “violent confrontation.”
Some of the
Sinai groups that Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders have reportedly contacted have
previously perpetrated attacks on Israel.
Israeli intelligence believes
that Ansar Bayit al-Maqdis, which shares ideological ties with al-Qaida, is
responsible for many recent attacks from Sinai, including the August 18, 2011,
attack on a bus near Eilat that killed eight Israelis, and the September 21,
2012 cross-border attack in which an Israeli soldier was killed.
Jihadi is one of the largest of Sinai’s armed jihadist groups and said in August
that its fight was against “the Zionist enemy” (Israel).
Egypt has been
increasingly unable to secure Sinai, where troop and army movements are strictly
limited by the terms of the 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel.