Gas pipeline explosion (illustrative)
Gas pipeline explosion (illustrative)Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Jihad terrorist group in northern Sinai has claimed responsibility for attacking the Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan overnight Saturday. It was the 12th such attack in a year's time. 

The group claimed the attack was carried out in “revenge for the death of its leader in an Egyptian prison.”

Ansar al-Jihad swore allegiance to international Al Qaeda terrorist leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a statement issued by the group on January 25, the first anniversary of the Tahrir Square Revolution.

The statement was posted on the Sinam al Islam jihadist web forum, translated by the SITE intelligence group and signed by “Your soldiers in Ansar al-Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula.”

It announced the group's “allegiance for obedience in good and bad, in difficulty and ease, and altruism...” and was addressed to their “beloved Mujahid Sheikh Abu Muhammad Ayman al Zawahiri.”

The group has become the military arm of Al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula, and has cemented ties with Salafi terrorist organizations in Gaza, according to SITE.

The group has vowed in past flyers translated by the SITE group circulated in northern Sinai to wage a war against what it calls “the corrupt [Egyptian] regime and its Jewish and American backers.” It has also stressed adherence to the doctrine of “the martyr Imam Osama Bin Laden,” according to an article in the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

According to a December 21 2011 alert by  the Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE), an organization that monitors jihadist movements., Ansar al-Jihad also announced its intentions to launch attacks on Egypt's ruling military council, as well as U.S. interests abroad.

The group claimed responsibility for a series of bombing on the pipeline in December, and also claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on Eilat in August 2011.