Egyptian Suicide Bomber Was an 'Army Officer'
In a surprising revelation, the terrorist group behind a failed assassination attempt on Egypt's Interior Minister has claimed that the suicide bomber who carried out the attack was actually a Major in the Egyptian army.
The Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Beit al-Makdis, which has carried out numerous attacks in the lawless Sinai Region, has been circulating a video on Islamist websites showing a man wearing a major's uniform, identified as Waleed Badr.
Apart from numerous attacks against Egyptian military and civilian targes, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has in the past claimed responsibility for an attempted rocket attack on the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
Speaking to the camera, Badr explains his motives for the bombing, which killed one person and wounded 22 others, saying that the Egyptian army is "bent on fighting religion" and "loves America" more than Egyptians.
According to the video, Badr was dismissed from the military for criticizing other officers over their levels of religious observance, and had already fought alongside Islamists in Afghanistan and Syria prior to his suicide attack. It added that he had spent a year in prison in Iran after unsuccessfully attempting to enter neighboring Iraq to fight alongside Al Qaeda terrorists there.
But despite opposing the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian military, Badr went on to slam Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood for "believing in democracy," insisting that Islamic law (Sharia) should be imposed through jihad alone, and calling on Egyptian Muslims "to sacrifice your lives through the explosive devices and the explosive belts and to kill in the same way they kill."
The video then goes on to show footage apparently from the attack itself. It shows a white pickup truck, apparently driven by Badr, driving up to a motorcade and suddenly exploding, sending bystanders fleeing in panic.
The Sinai has become increasingly lawless since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and terror attacks have only increased since the removal of Mubarak’s successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The Egyptian military has not commented on the video, but recent days have seen the military-backed government's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood extend to the ranks of the security services. On Friday, a police officer was suspended over suspicions he was a member of the Brotherhood, according to Al Arabiya.