CAIRO: Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denied it had formed an alliance with the Islamic State group Tuesday on its Twitter account, following a report by Reuters claiming it swore allegiance to the group’s self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for many recent terrorist attacks in the Sinai, but the Egyptian government has denied multiple times that there are any IS soldiers inside its borders.
Shortly after the Reuters report was published, a jihadi website posted a statement they attributed to Islamic State member Abu Musab al-Maqdisi , in which he called on Egyptian jihadis to move to “take the battle” to Cairo, and not stay in the Sinai.
He added that they should target the economy and tourism, by hitting major companies and communication organizations, specifying the Suez Canal and Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris. He concluded with a warning that those who collude with police should be beheaded.
The Islamic State group has no official portal or website, and many accounts of suspected members or supporters are often short-lived or shut down by site administrators.
“There is no presence of the Islamic State in Egypt,” official spokes person for the ministry of interior Hany Abdel Latif told the Okaz Saudi newspaper in August, adding such “rumors” are ”psychological warfare” to frighten Egyptian citizens.
A terrorist attack in North Sinai Oct. 24 killed 31 soldiers and injured dozens more, prompting Egyptian military forces to focus a number of security campaigns in the region. Last week authorities announced they would relocate over 1,000 families along the Gaza border to create a security buffer zone.