Sinai Jihadists Deny Pledging Allegiance to ISIS

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denies an earlier statement attributed to it, and in which it said it had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Ben Ariel ,

Jihadists (illustration)
Jihadists (illustration)

The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terrorist group denied in a Twitter message on Tuesday that it had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) and it distanced itself from a statement that appeared in its name online, Reuters reports.

A statement purporting to be from the group appeared late on Monday on two jihadist Twitter feeds, saying the group had pledged loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of ISIS.

However, a message on a Twitter feed which claims to be the official account of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and which has issued other statements on behalf of the group in recent months, said on Tuesday the announcement 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, according to Reuters.

The written statement pledging loyalty, which carried the logo of the Egyptian group, had been removed by Tuesday morning from one of the Twitter accounts where it appeared overnight. The second Twitter account issued subsequent tweets saying the statement was not attributable to Ansar.

Reuters was not able to verify the accuracy of the statement nor to contact the group directly for comment.

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.