IS allegedly claims responsibility for four attacks
Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - REUTERS

CAIRO: The Islamic State (IS) has reportedly claimed responsibility for two Aug. 5 attacks in Matrouh and Gharbiya governorates which killed six police officers in total, reported Youm7.

According to the Interior Ministry’s press release the night of the attack, gunmen in an SUV opened fire at a police car, killing the five officers in it and then setting the vehicle and the bodies on fire on the coastal highway of Dabaa region in Matrouh, in northwestern Egypt.

“[We] attacked them from behind to instill horror among them, and shot them from every direction and side until they dropped dead. After killing them, we poured benzene [gas] and set the bodies on fire so they were burned to death the same way they burned Muslims after death. The mujahideen insisted to burn them like they did to the Muslims at Rabaa and Nahda [squares,]” IS said in its statement.

The extremist group allegedly vowed to commit more attacks, including suicidal ones, against the police and the military “all over the country.”

Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim told Al-Masry Al-Youm Tuesday that such acts will not stop police and army forces from combating terrorism and criminal hotbeds.

A security source told Youm7 that the attackers live in Arish in the Sinai Peninsula and that security forces are collecting evidence and investigating the incident.

Also on Monday, an officer was killed and another was injured when they approached a parked car in Senta city, Gharbia governorate, where gunmen in the car shot at them.

IS reportedly said in the statement that the plan was to attack the whole police patrol and kill all the officers in there, but the victims spotted the car before they implement the plan.

The statement added that IS would begin attacking night clubs and brothel operators in 12 days.

Uncertain claims

In similar news, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Tuesday that IS issued a statement in which it claimed responsibility for the Farafra attack which took place in the governorate of Wadi el-Gedid on July 19, killing 22 border guard forces.

“A first group was in charge of blowing up the security checkpoint with RPG, and then a second group took care of shooting the soldiers using Kalashnikov weapons,” the reported statement said.

The newspaper strongly argued then that there was evidence in the attack suggesting IS presence, such as IS flags seen in the crime scene.

News reported statements were published online and on social media, namely Twitter, attributed to the militant group, under the name @islamic_s_egypt. However, the account is now deactivated. The group is known for releasing videos of their crimes, but no official online presence has been found.

This is not the first time there are suspicions on the origins of online statements related to military groups. News media have often quoted Twitter as a source of statements for Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), a Sinai-based militant group which also claimed responsibility for the Farafra attack.

Months ago, their supposed account @Ansar almqds required permission to follow, and contained several tweets with such statements. It claimed responsibility for an attack on a tourist bus in Taba last February which killed three Koreans. Two days later, a statement was released warning of terrorist attacks targeting tourists. The statement was picked up by Reuters and other international media.

Now the account seems to be inactive, and in February, the group supposedly released a statement denying links with Twitter accounts. It was unclear, however, where the statement was originally issued.

Security forces deal with the different potential threatening militant organizations as a whole, considering them all terrorist elements derived from the Muslim Brotherhood, officially labeled a terrorist organization by the Egyptian state last December.

In a July report addressing the confusing statements, Al-Fagr newspaper said it was hard to prove or identify any of the Twitter accounts that have referred to themselves as ABM, noting that an IS-claimed account started appearing June 29, and that was this account was originally called ABM.

Meanwhile, a former Al-Qaeda member and current member of the Islamist Construction and Development Party told Al-Mehwer Channel Monday that IS Egypt does not exist.

Moreover, former Deputy Minister of Interior Farouk al-Makarhy told Youm7 Tuesday that “Daesh,” the name used for IS militants, and other terrorist groups were the “many faces of the same body, the Muslim Brotherhood.”

This comes in line with what security experts have previously told The Cairo Post. “A war of ideologies is what we are dealing with, through various factions derived from the same organization, which is the Muslim Brotherhood,” a former army commander said.

At the same time, security officials are pushing for implementation of a strict terrorism, while religious preachers speak of fighting “extremist, takfiri ideology.”

Ibrahim Negm, advisor to the Grand Mufti, told the press Tuesday that it was important to fight takfiri thinking, warning of the risk of having a “Daeshi-takfiri” ideology attracting the youth in Egypt, Youm7 reported.

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