Two days ago, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai issued a new report to jihadist forums that condemned actions taken by Egyptian security forces in recent weeks. The report also alleged that Egyptian authorities are allowing Israeli drones to operate over the Sinai Peninsula.
In the statement, which was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the Salafi jihadist group claimed that the media is colluding with the army by not detailing its actions. The army’s actions have led to the deaths of a number of civilians in the Sinai, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya claimed.
“The blood of the people of Sinai became cheap without a cost to the army elements, so there is no questioning or punishment,” the statement said.
Al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya specifically noted seven events between June 29 and July 31, which it said were “crimes” by Egyptian security forces. In one incident on July 13, the statement alleged that “an Apache war plane fired a rocket at random due to a group of children playing with laser pointers and pointing them at the plane.”
The last of the seven events noted by the group is the alleged presence of Israeli drones over the Sinai. According to the statement, the Egyptian army has allowed “Egypt’s airspace to be open to the spy planes of the Zionist enemy.” In recent days, “Zionists drones were spotted roaming the skies over El Arish and El Sheikh Zeweid, and the spy planes fired rockets at will at any target in North Sinai.”
This is at least the second time that al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya has charged that Israeli drones are operating over the Sinai. In October 2012, the group made the claim in a statement posted to jihadist forums.
“In a dangerous development that is considered to be a clear attack on the sovereignty and the sanctity of our lands, the spy planes of the Zionist entity dared to penetrate Egyptian airspace more than once and for long distances, throughout the past week. Your mujahideen brothers have been able to track and monitor a number of pilotless drones belonging to the Jewish air force, which had penetrated into Egyptian airspace in several areas of the skies above the city of Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah and central Sinai,” the group said at the time.
The Aug. 3 statement from al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya concluded by asking whether there are “reasonable and wise people in this army who still have loyalty to this religion and this Ummah, to stop the agents and the traitors from among the leaders of this army, and to bring back this army to the right path to fight the enemies of the Ummah, support this religion, and defend lands, lives and honors of Muslims???”
This latest statement from al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya is not the first report from Salafi jihadists on the situation in the Sinai since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi as Egypt’s president in early July.
On July 14, a report detailing dozens of events in the Sinai between June 29 and July 12 was released to jihadist forums. The report denounced the Egyptian army for firing on protesters in the city of el Arish in North Sinai on July 5. The report also noted that in response to the events in el Arish, “simultaneous attacks” were launched at seven locations, including the el Arish airport and the intelligence headquarters in Rafah.
A week earlier, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya had denounced the July 5 incident in a statement posted in jihadist forums on July 6. The group charged that the Egyptian army had opened fire and wounded at least 21 people who were protesting “in front of the district building in Arish during afternoon prayers on Friday.”
“The matter cannot be denied, for the cameras and videos had recorded it and the video is on the internet,” the statement said. “The people of Sinai in general will not stand aside, and the rise of the people of Arish after this crime and their taking control of the district building and expelling the army is only an example of that,” the group said.
And on July 5, a representative of al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai announced the formation of a new front, “Ansar al Sharia in Egypt,” in the wake of Morsi’s ouster. The group claimed to be readying for a fight, saying it will “make preparations and acquire means of power such as weapons and training,” according to a statement obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
In recent days, security sources have claimed a number of successes in the operations against jihadists operating in the Sinai. Unfortunately, they have yet to provide hard proof, and numerous attacks were reported yesterday and today.