CAIRO: “The message of the Egyptian army” is the title of a video released by the Armed Forces on the official website of the Ministry of Defense Saturday, following Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis’ videos claiming responsibility for attacks in Sinai.
In the army’s video, military officials said the army “will stand to protect the Egyptian people,” and similar to the editing of the ABM video, the army showed excerpts of the military operations against terrorist groups in Sinai, explosions, dead bodies, arrested suspected members of ABM and seized artillery.
The video follows another with the same title released on the official Facebook account of the military spokesperson Mohamed Sami Nov. 11.
In September, the military’s Facebook page published photos of an operation in which some alleged terrorists were killed. “The aim is to reassure public opinion of military efforts and the fight against terrorism in Sinai,” Ibrahim Abu Handal, a military expert and former brigadier general told The Cairo Post in September.
“The message is also intended to warn terrorist groups and scare off their supporters or those who wish to join them that there will be a strong security response, he added.
But ABM and other similar groups operating against military and police forces in Sinai have not refrained from broadcasting videos of their attacks. The latest broadcast footage by ABM on Saturday claimed responsibility for the Karam Qowadis attack that left dozens of soldiers dead in October.
A man whose face is blurred in the video blames the army for carrying on raids in North Sinai, putting Islamists in prison and relocating residents near the Rafah borders, a measure the military decided to implement following the attack to establish a protective border zone.
“There is a possibility that ABM is broadcasting from Qatar,” suggested retired army general and Strategic expert Sameh Seif al-Yazal in an interview with CBC Saturday.
Despite authorities’ efforts to suspend accounts affiliated with ABM, similar groups and others supporting the Islamic State group (IS) amid a global campaign to shut down their Twitter accounts, ABM’s presence on social media continued despite a ban of their alternative account Welayit Sinai (State of Sinai.)