Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis calls for more strikes against tourists: statement
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis members - YOUM7 (Archive)
By AYA IBRAHIM

CAIRO: A statement circulating on social media by the jihadist group Mojahideen Shura Council on Tuesday stated that the Sinai-based group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is expected to carry out more attacks against tourists and economic institutions.

“Continue down your road and carry on with your strikes, and aim at the economy and tourism,” said the statement, published also on the Twitter account of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis on Sunday.

Former Assistant Interior Minister Emad Aboul Fotouh told Al Arabiya News on Monday that the statement “proves that Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is just a ‘terrorist’ group that commits monstrous crimes which they claim that the Minister of Interior and the army carried out.”

The group also mourned the death of two of its members in the statement, Tawfiq Mohammed Freij, also known as Abu Abdullah, and Mohamed Al Sayed Mansour, also known as Abou-Ebida.

Freij was one of the founders of the group and was responsible for most of the blasts at pipelines providing natural gas to Israel, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis said in an earlier statement.

Freij is also believed to be have played an important role in the assassination attempt on Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim in Cairo last September, Ahram Gate reported on March 15.

While Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claims Freij died accidently on March 11 when a bomb he was carrying exploded, the Armed Forces claimed responsibility for his death during a raid on Takfiri groups in the Sinai, Ahram Gate reported.

Since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi on July 3 and the violent dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in on August 14, 2013, police and army personnel have been targeted regularly by militant or jihadist groups.

At first, most attacks took place in the Sinai, but recently police outside the peninsula have become targets as well.

Most attacks have been claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, however, another group called the Ansar al-Sharia Brigade claimed responsibility for assassinating a number of police officers, in a statement on Facebook that included the names of murdered officers.

There are several jihadist groups operating in the Middle East called Ansar al-Sharia, of which the most known group has been operating in Libya since 2011. It is not clear if this or the other groups are related to the Ansar al-Sharia Brigade in Egypt.

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