Ajnad Misr (“Soldiers of Egypt”) has released a statement responding to the State Department’s announcement that the group has been added to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists.
The group’s statement was released on its official Twitter feed. Just prior to publishing the response, Ajnad Misr retweeted a comment by a member or leader of the organization offering his thanks for the “blessing” of designation.
Ajnad Misr argues in its statement, written in Arabic, that America is the real “terrorist” organization, as it is a “killer of children” and has established “secret prisons.” Since the revolution in 2011, the group claims, it has faced “many plots” aimed at maintaining the “power of tyrants.”
The statement reads like a piece of al Qaeda propaganda, as the jihadists explain they are not just facing a “criminal system or internal organs,” but a “global system,” which “many people” do not pay attention to. Egypt is not an “American state,” the group says, and it has been working to counter America’s efforts “in our territory.” This is the “battle we face,” Ajnad Misr says.
“We are embarking on a historic change that will [transform] the world” and ensure that we “will not go back to the era of tyrants,” the group says.
In its announcement yesterday, the State Department explained that Ajnad Misr is a “violent extremist group that splintered from Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM),” which is also a “designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global entity.”
Unlike ABM, or at least part of ABM, Ajnad Misr has not pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and its leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
“Ajnad Misr officially announced its formation in January 2014,” the State Department’s announcement reads, “and has since claimed numerous attacks on Egyptian security forces at government buildings, public spaces and universities, often injuring or killing innocent bystanders.”
Some of Ajnad Misr’s most significant operations since its inception have focused on attacks on Egyptian universities, with the group often portraying itself as defending students who are being oppressed by security forces.
In its propaganda, Ajnad Misr attempts to drum up popular support for its anti-government attacks. Unlike the Islamic State and its adherents, who argue they are fighting for the top-down imposition of the caliphate’s rule, Ajnad Misr portrays itself as defending or leading a popular revolution against corrupt authorities. In reality, the group’s ideology is not popular across much of Egyptian society.