CAIRO: Security has been intensified on the shores of the Mediterranean to foil any attempts to infiltrate into Sinai Peninsula from Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed or Rafah in North Sinai, as preliminary information revealed that Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) includes foreign and non-Arab nationals, a security source told Youm7 Wednesday.
ABM released a Tuesday video with ten Bedouins “confessing” to have aided the Egyptian military. The locals were then shown as being beheaded, in a series of decapitations followed by the group on the same grounds of collaboration with the “infidel” army.
Naval forces are on alert around North Sinai with sophisticated surveillance systems to detect foreign subjects, the source said, adding that security forces are pursuing filming sites, the producers of ABM’s “high-tech” videos and the locations of their equipment.
In November, a launch patrolling the shores of Damietta in the Mediterranean was attacked and eight sailors were killed, according to military spokesperson Mohamed Samir.
On the other hand, Egyptian naval sources told Lebanese news website Al-Modon that navy officer Ahmed Amer hijacked the launch, announcing it was “the Islamic State Launch” to the naval base.
ABM, IS and Turkey
Although ABM pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group (IS) in November 2014, security services are still collaborating with Sinai tribes to determine the extent of ABM’s relations with IS.
A senior commander from ABM, which proclaimed itself the “Sinai Province” in November, told Reuters in September that IS teaches them how to carry out operations, but does not give them fighters or weapons.
Meanwhile, Youm7’s source claimed that ABM is “directly supported” by Turkish intelligence to turn North Sinai into a “Jihadi emirate” in an attempt to impede development and “exhaust” security forces in a “guerilla war in the desert.”
The source further claimed that Turkish intelligence reinforces armed groups in North Sinai with money and weapons, especially after they lost “the bulk” of their fighters and weapons in their attacks against security forces, and in security campaigns that destroyed dozens of arms warehouses, food supplies and other living necessities.
ABM told Reuters early January their numbers have become smaller after many were killed and detained, in addition to the deployment of security forces “everywhere.”
Egyptian-Turkish relations have severely deteriorated following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. The two countries have withdrawn their respective ambassadors in an ingoing diplomatic tit-for-tat.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told Asharq Al-Awsat Feb. 11 that the Turkish regime is “not with the Sisi government,” and considered that former president Morsi’s ouster is responsible for Egypt’s security and economic difficulties.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Ahmed Tantawy