Ansar Bayt al Maqdis put on terror list
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis members - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: An Egyptian court listed Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis  Saturday as a terrorist organization, in the first implementation of the terrorist entities law issued by the presidency in February.

The law criminalizes any person or group who either “commits or attempt to commit or incite violence” towards individuals and properties in Egypt or even abroad. The prosecution announced that 207 from group will be listed as terrorists; of whom 98 were tried in absentia.

Hisham Barakat, announced in the Saturday statement his demand to release the ruling was based on “investigations conducted by the supreme state security prosecution.”

Saturday’s is not the first judicial procedure to be taken towards the militant group. In April 2014, the Court of Urgent Affairs designated the group as a terrorist organizaiton, following escalating violence in the Sinai.

In late October 2014, a bomb attack in North Sinai’s Arish killed dozens of soldiers, and prompted the army to establish a state of emergency as well as impose a curfew. The military also announced the creation of a 1-km wide buffer zone along the Rafah border, which the army said would help search for and destroy illegal tunnels. The buffer zone has displaced at least 1,000 families.  In late January, another attack on security forces in North Sinai killed at least 40 soldiers and civilians.

Following the January attack, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi assigned Major General Osama Askar, the head of the Third Field Army, as a unified commander for the military operations in Sinai, and is responsible for leading ground, air and navy forces in addition to intelligence apparatuses.

Two months ago, a leader within Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group admitted to Reuters that they were “suffering while facing the Egyptian military.”

“It’s getting really hard over here, our numbers and ammunitions are decreasing, many of us have been either killed or captured and the military is everywhere” said the leader who preferred to remain anonymous.

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