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US Blacklists Salafist Group as Terror Organization

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Salafist group responsible for terror attacks in Egypt, Sinai, and Israel, now defined as terror group in US.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 4/9/2014, 7:56 PM

Illustration: Al Qaeda supporters in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula
Illustration: Al Qaeda supporters in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula
Reuters

The US State Department announced Wednesday that it had blacklisted Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis as a "terrorist organization," citing the many recent attacks the Salafist group has launched on Egypt and Israel. 

The Department stated that the blacklist outlawed interactions with the group entirely, including against anyone "knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with this organization, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that is in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons."

The State Department said the group is sympathetic to Al-Qaeda but is not a formal affiliate.

The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has already claimed a series of terrorist attacks in Egypt, including the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai. The group had previously claimed a car bombing which killed five people outside Cairo police headquarters in January and the gunning down of six Egyptian soldiers in February. 

Several months ago, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denounced the Egyptian army as “an enemy of Allah” because of its crackdown on Sinai terrorists and called for “jihad” against it.

Egypt’s interim government says there is a direct link between the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and on this basis blacklisted the Brotherhood as a terror organization.

The terror group has in the past also claimed responsibility for firing rockets from the Sinai Peninsula at the Israeli resort city of Eilat, as well as attacking Israeli border patrol in a deadly assault in 2012. That attack left one border policeman dead, and another wounded.