TEL AVIV – For the second time in recent days, Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari, a top jihadi operative in the Gaza Strip, claimed that the Islamic State has recruited agents among airport personnel worldwide.
Ansari was speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem on Tuesday from the Gaza Strip. He made the comments in the wake of the hijacking of an EgyptAir plane forced to land in Cyprus by a passenger claiming to be wearing an explosive suicide belt.
The alleged hijacker, named by Cypriot officials as Seif Eldin Mustafa, has been taken into custody amid conflicting reports about his motivation. Some are saying the hijacker was seeking to talk to his estranged wife who lives in Cyprus, while other reports are claiming the man presented political demands, including the release of female prisoners in Egypt.
Ansari stressed that he does not know the hijacker or his motives. However, the jihadist warned that, regardless of today’s incident, the Islamic State “has successfully recruited collaborators among airport personnel around the world.”
“All I know is that our brothers invest a lot of effort in making it happen,” he said, referring to the possibility of future attacks on airliners.
He further said on Tuesday that Wilayat Sinai, the IS affiliate in the Egyptian peninsula, has made significant gains and is ready to spread inland, toward Cairo and the Nile Delta.
In an earlier interview broadcast Sunday on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” Ansari said that Wilayat Sinai will be at the forefront of IS’s battle against Israel, and that the days until the group carries out attacks on the south of Israel are numbered.
In the same interview, Ansari claimed IS has agents working in Western airports, metro stations, and “very sensitive facilities in the world.”
Ansari is a well-known Gaza Salafist jihadi allied with Islamic State ideology. During his most recent interviews, Ansari seemed to be speaking as an actual IS member, repeatedly using the pronoun “we” when referring to IS and even seemingly making declarations on behalf of IS.
IS has been reluctant to officially declare its presence in Gaza for fear of a Hamas clampdown, but the group is known to be active in the coastal enclave and Ansari is a suspected IS leader. IS-aligned militants have taken responsibility for recent rocket fire from Gaza aimed at Israel.
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Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.