‘Sinai attackers were educated, not local Beduin’

Reports in the Egyptian press say educated middle class Egyptians responsible for September terror attack against IDF.

Beduins inspect their weapons in the Sinai Peninsula 370 (R) (photo credit: Asmaa Waguih / Reuters)
Beduins inspect their weapons in the Sinai Peninsula 370 (R)
(photo credit: Asmaa Waguih / Reuters)
Members of the terror cell behind last month’s lethal cross-border ambush on IDF soldiers were educated middle class Egyptians, not local Beduin as previously assumed, Egyptian media reports said.
According to reports in the Egyptian press, the two men, 31-year-old Ahmad Wajieh and his cousin, 25-year-old Bahaa Abdel Aziz Zaqzouq, were part of three-man terror cell.
Twenty-year-old Cpl. Netanel Yahalomi of the IDF Artillery Corps was shot dead while engaging the terrorists. He and his unit were giving water to African migrants who had arrived on the border when the ambush began. IDF soldiers killed all three terrorists within 15 minutes of the attack.
According to Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm, the two men hailed from the Mitkhakan village in Egypt’s Nile Delta.
Zaqzouq, who was married with two children, graduated from the Faculty of Arts at Minoufiya University, and was the only son of a family of four daughters.
His family was religious, according to another report in the al-Ahram daily.
Wajieh was a married father of two daughters, worked as an engineer and was a religious singer in a group in Qesna, which is also in the Minoufiya district. He gave recitals at concerts and weddings, the report said.
Wajieh’s friends told reporters that he did not belong to any political or religious movement.
However, a report in al-Ahram claimed that Wajieh had surprised his family after the Id al-Fitr holiday with a change in his religious ideology.
Some time before the attack, the report said, the two men left the village and their families did not hear from them.
One villager, named as Fathi Mahmoud, said that before he left Zaqzouq he talked about his love of jihad, his anger over abuses against the Prophet Muhammad and the struggle of Muslims in Syria.
The al-Aharam report said that neighbors of the two men in Mitkhakan were saddened and horrified after hearing the news that their fellow villagers had taken part in the terror attack.
The report questioned how the men, who had lived quietly in the village, had somehow been converted to jihadist ideas.
According to that report, one of the men’s relatives, who declined to give his name, said that the Egyptian authorities should search for the “missing link” – the person who recruited suicide bombers from the Minoufia district.
Other media reports also cited a relative of the two men, Mursi Abdel-Khalek, who also claimed that they had been victims of religious groups spreading extremist propaganda.
Ansar Bayit al-Muqaddas (“Supporters of Jerusalem”) a Salafi jihadist group linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement that they aimed to “punish Jews” for the anti- Islam movie Innocence of Muslims.
Residents from the village of Mitkhakan, near Shibin al-Kawm in the Minufiya governorate, received the bodies of two men, Egyptian media reported on Monday.
The IDF is continuing to study the attack. Defense commentators have called on Israel to improve its intelligence- gathering capabilities in the Sinai.