Is it for real this time? A Sinai-based jihadist group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), a week after denying that it had done so.
According to The Associated Press (AP), Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the jihadist organization that has carried out numerous attacks targeting Egyptian security forces, pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in an audio speech posted late Sunday on the group's official Twitter account.
The unknown speaker in the recording released says Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis decided to join ISIS, "whose emergence resembles a new dawn raising the banner of monotheism."
The speaker said al-Baghdadi was "chosen by God" to establish a new caliphate after "Muslims suffered decades of humiliation."
"Therefore, we have no alternative but to declare our pledge of allegiance to the caliph … to listen and obey him … and we call on all Muslims to pledge allegiance to him," the speaker said, according to AP.
The speaker went on to urge Egyptians to rise up against what he called "the tyrant," apparently referring to President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, who was elected earlier this year.
What is odd, however, is that just last week the group had used the same Twitter account to deny reports saying it had pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi.
A message on the Twitter feed said at the that an allegiance announcement a day earlier did not come from them.
“The statement that has been circulated in the media and is sourced to us, regarding the group’s declaration of allegiance to the Caliphate of the Muslims, is nothing to do with us,” said the tweet.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police over the last year, since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi, and beheaded several people in recent weeks, in acts similar to those of ISIS which regularly beheads hostages.
Among the attacks claimed by the group since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was 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 has also claimed responsibility for several rocket attacks that targeted the Israeli resort city of Eilat.