'Sinai jihadist groups must stop attacking Israel'

Leaders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad warn Sinai groups not to attack Israel out of solidarity with Palestinian resistance in Gaza.

Weapon carried by terrorists (photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
Weapon carried by terrorists
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
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.
The Salafist Jihadist groups Egyptian Islamic Jihad contacted were named as Ansar Bayit al-Maqdis, Salafi Jihadi and Ahl al-Sunna wal Gama’a.
Sinai jihadist 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 said.
“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 situation...
and they fully understand and pledged not to embark on any rocket fire into Israel from Sinai,” Al-Hayat quoted Salem as saying.
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 said.
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.
Salafi 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.