Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claims founder died on March 11
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis members - YOUM7 (Archive)
By RANDA EL-BANNA

CAIRO: Tawfik Mohammed Freij known as “Aby Abdullah” died on March 11 in a car accident while carrying “a heat bomb that accidently went off and killed him,” Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis announced in a March 14 official statement.

The statement claims Freij was one of the founders of the group and said he was responsible for blowing up gas pipelines between Israel and Egypt, an attack against Israel in 2011, and an unsuccessful assassination attempt against Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim in 2013.

Military spokesperson Ahmed Ali had announced on March 12 that military forces had raided several criminal spots in Sinai, Ismailia, Port Said, Damietta and Dakahlia which resulted in the death of seven takfiri elements, who allow other Muslims to be labeled apostates, and the arrest of 36 militants.

It is not clear whether Freij was targeted in the operations.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis have claimed responsibility for a number of attacks targeting police and military forces during the last 3 months.

On Dec. 24, a car bomb exploded at Dakahlia Security Directorate killing 14 and injuring 134.

One day before the third anniversary of January 25 Revolution, another car bomb explosion rocked the Cairo Security Directorate on Jan. 24 resulting in four deaths and 76 injuries.

Maqdis, the most active militant group in the country, also claimed responsibility for a Jan.23 attack on a police checkpoint in Beni Suef that killed 5 policemen.

The group also claimed responsibility for shooting down a military helicopter in Sinai on Jan. 25.

It was also responsible for the murder of the technical department head at the Ministry of Interior Major General Mohamed Saed, who was killed in front of his home on Jan. 28.

On Feb. 16 the group detonated a bomb on a tourist bus in Taba land port, leaving four dead, including three South Korean tourists and 13 injuries.  The attack signaled a shift in the group’s strategy to start targeting Egypt’s tourism industry.

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