Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), Egypt’s most dangerous Islamist entity, has reportedly thrown its weight behind the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.
A statement released by ABM read, “After entrusting Allah we decided to swear allegiance to the emir of the faithful Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, caliph of the Muslims in Syria and Iraq and in other countries,” according to a Reuters report.
Alleged statement swearing allegiance to the Islamic State (Reuters)
Since the fall of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has dealt with a surge in Islamist terrorism from jihadi groups in the Sinai peninsula, with most attributed to ABM. As of recent, the Egyptian army has squared off against ABM on several occasions, resulting in a multitude of deaths on both sides.
However, what is believed to be ABM’s official Twitter page released a statement claiming that the reports of the jihadi group pledging its services to ISIS are untrue.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (Twitter)
The Institute for the Study of War also said Tuesday that reports of ABM pledging to ISIS were incorrect. The report said:
This is not the first time that false statements have been attributed to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and this probably false report may be related to the group’s recent prominence in conjunction with the suicide attack targeting Egyptian security forces in the Sinai. Egypt is facing real and very serious threats emerging from its territory, but Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis joining forces with ISIS is not yet one of them.
Regardless of whether ABM has officially pledged to ISIS, recent reports show that the two groups have been actively consorting for some time. In September, Breitbart News reported that ABM was working closely with the Islamic State, learning from the jihadi group how to better their training and guerilla tactics. An ABM fighter told Reuters at the time that ISIS “teach[es] us how to carry out operations. We communicate through the internet. They don’t give us weapons or fighters. But they do teach us how to create secret cells, consisting of five people. Only one person has contact with other cells.”
ABM Fighters (Cairo Post)
ABM uses similar tactics as ISIS, such as decapitation, to carry out its terrorist acts. The group is reportedly motivated primarily by “avenging” the downfall of the Brotherhood.
ABM fighters rounding up alleged spies before decapitating them (Youtube)
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is known for its close ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood. ABM, which in English means “Defenders of Jerusalem,” borrows their slogan from a Quranic verse popularized by MB founder Hassan al-Banna. Additionally, the founder of Islamic Jihad in Egypt stated that ABM receives its funding and armaments through the Muslim Brotherhood. Both Islamist terror expert Sameh Eid and MB dissident group Brotherhood Without Violence have described ABM as the “military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood” in the Sinai Peninsula.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis logo
In April, the U.S. State Department listed Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.