This transformation was confirmed by several Sinai inhabitants. Ashraf Ayub, a political activist who has monitored religious currents and movement since 2004, said that the Salafi-jihadist movement started in that year after the random arrests of the Salafis and the violation of the sanctity of the homes in Shaykh Zuwayd, Al-Arish and Rafah. Women were arrested during these campaigns, a matter which in Sinai culture grossly violates taboos as it touches directly on honor and manliness. He adds that the tribesmen paid a heavy price for what happened in Taba then Sharm al-Shaykh. The security was looking for a scapegoat at the time, even though it has now become known that the State Security Investigations was responsible for these acts. The Salafis were the scapegoat on which the former police regime blamed all conspiracies. They were treated with unprecedented violence even though those Salafis themselves were always in some kind of undeclared alliance with the security. Actually a large number of them, according to Ayub, had direct contacts with the security. However the violent dealings and the violation of the taboos triggered a real animosity and a desire for revenge, especially as those youth used to see themselves as a good and patriotic current that started to appear with the second Intifidah and took part in the rescue operations of the inhabitants of Gaza. The majority of them were at the time between 17 and 20 years of age at the most. After the Taba incidents, the real change began to take place in their ideologies, and this is what makes them unique from the rest of the Salafi current throughout Egypt. Ashraf Ayub concludes by saying that a large number of them were forced to resort to hiding in the mountains in ways similar to that of the Al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan. This is perhaps what explains the black flags that they use as their banners.
The Borders: Work and Jihad
The map for the distribution of the Salafi-jihadists in northern Sinai explains their movement last Friday. It began in the city of Rafah, specifically from a number of the mosques known for being mosques of the Salafis, led by the Al-Tawhid Mosque in the region of Al-Masura; the Al-Husaynat Mosque, and the Al-Mahdiya Mosque. The vehicles moved from the city, the nervous system of the Salafis and the basic source of their livelihood, toward Shaykh Zuwayd, with more than 50 four-wheel cars, motorcycles and half-trucks, all flying the black flags of Al-Qa'ida and carrying masked persons brandishing weapons. The convoy set forth along 45 kilometers in a blatant show of strength on the international highway without any one intercepting it. It entered the city of Al-Arish to assemble before Al-Rifa'i Mosque and raise the black flags high. They fired machineguns in the air at the Mosque square, announcing their presence and giving advance notice of a battle that would erupt shortly. That battle started with the smashing of the "stone idols" (the statue of President Anwar al-Sadat in Hurreya Square) passing by Al-Arish's No 2 Police Station. Al-Arish inhabitants, led by a number of youth activists, affirmed that the city itself had no Salafi-jihadists and that the Salafis in it had packed and left for Tahrir Square since dawn Friday in about 30 buses. But they do not deny the presence of some Salafi-jihadist leaders led by "Asad al-Bik" who is considered the Shaykh of the Salafis in Al-Arish and "Hani Abu-Shita" and "Mustafa Azzam". The City of Shaykh Zuwayd and Rafah are packed with them and are considered the principal strongholds of that current. Among their leaders are Muhammad Azzam Singer, Abu-al-Hasan Iskandar, Al-Dib, Shaykh Abu-Faysal, Shaykh Isa, and Musa al-Hamdayn.
[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic -- State-controlled daily newspaper of record, reportedly Egypt's highest circulation daily; Al-Ahram controls the distribution of all other newspapers, state-run and opposition alike.]
Al-Qa'ida Urges Egyptians to Turn Sinai Into Islamic Emirate
GMP20110802950026 Cairo Al-Yawm al-Sabi in Arabic 02 Aug 11
[Report by Abd-al-Halim Salim, entitled: "Distribution of leaflet attributed to Al-Qa'idah calling for turning Sinai into Islamic emirate"]
Al-Yawm al-Sabi has obtained a leaflet that was distributed to some mosques in Al-Arish City in Sinai after the end of the Tarawih prayers [extra prayers performed after the evening prayer in Ramadan only] that call for turning Sinai into an Islamic emirate.
The leaflet was entitled "a statement from Al-Qa'idah organization in the Sinai peninsula". It included verses from Koran that says that Islam is the right religion that should be followed.
The statement pointed out Sinai's disarmament as part of the Camp David agreement and besieging the Gaza Strip in favour of Zionists.
The statement wondered about the role of the armed forces in stopping the smuggling of toxins into Sinai. It also tackled the injustice done to Sinai's Bedouins and the looting of Sinai's wealth. The statement concluded with: "Enough ignorance."
[Editorial insertion: The Al-Yawm al-Sabi's website published images of the aforementioned statement in the report.]
[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Yawm al-Sabi in Arabic -- Website of independent liberal weekly; URL: http://www.youm7.com/Default.asp.]
Salafi group denies link to Arish assault
GMP20110802966183 Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English 2005 GMT 02 Aug 11
[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]
The Salafi Group in North Sinai has denied any connection to the recent attacks in Arish that left five dead and 20 injured, including civilians, police and military forces.
At a press conference in Arish on Tuesday, the group said it rejects violence and prefers dialogue.
Mostafa Azzam, an activist with the group, said the march organized by the group in Arish last Friday was entirely peaceful. He stressed that none of the protesters carried any weapons, noting that the purpose of the rally was to call for fulfilling the demands of the 25 January revolution.
Ammar Saleh Gouda, another member of the group, claimed that it was the Salafis who protected the revolutionaries against assaults by thugs during the revolution.
Meanwhile, Hussein al-Qayem, another activist from the group, said the goal for Salafis is to achieve stability and security, and end oppression. He added that Sinai residents accept these objectives.
In a statement commenting on the police station attack in Arish, the group emphasized that no innocent Muslim should ever be killed, regardless of the reason.
[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English -- English language version of Al-Misri al-Yawm, Egypt's respected independent pro-reform daily that focuses on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth; URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en]
Egypt: Self-Professed 'Al-Qa'ida in Sinai Peninsula' Calls for Islamic Emirate
GMP20110803010002 Cairo Al-Yawm al-Sabi Online in Arabic 02 Aug 11
[Report from Al-Arish by Abd-al-Halim Salim: "Distribution of Leaflet Attributed to Al-Qa'ida Calling for Transformation of Sinai into an Islamic Emirate" [the manner in which this message was disseminated does not match the standard method used by Al-Qa'ida and its regional affiliates for publishing their propaganda messages and statements]]
Al-Yawm al-Sabi has obtained a leaflet that was distributed in some mosques in the city of Al-Arish in Sinai after the end of Al-Tarawih [customary prayers during Ramadan] calling for turning Sinai into an Islamic emirate.
The statement was entitled "Statement from Al-Qa'ida Organization in the Sinai Peninsula". It contained Koranic verses stating that Islam was the religion of righteousness and that it must be followed.
The statement referred to the demilitarization of Sinai in the Camp David Agreement and to laying siege to the Gaza Strip to serve the interests of the Zionists.
It asked about what role the armed forces played in stopping the smuggling of poison [narcotics] into Sinai. It also dealt with the injustices to which the Sinai Bedouins are subjected and the looting of Sinai's resources. The statement concluded with the sentence: "Enough ignorance for us".
[Text of the statement from a photocopy published by the newspaper]
In the Name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate
Statement from Al-Qa'ida Organization in the Sinai Peninsula
The Almighty said "Rule is for Allah only" [Koranic verse], so we call for taking the initiative and for an Islamic emirate.
- We demand that the Islamic religion should be the sole source of legislation. The Almighty said "Do you fear them? Nay, it is Allah whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe" (Surat Al-Tawbah, verse 13) [Koranic verse].
- Allah forbade us to have other legislation. The Almighty said: "O ye who believe, give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life" (Surat Al-Anfal, verse 24) [Koranic verse]. Ibn Abbas [Prophet Muhammad's cousin] said: "Jihad salutes you".
- The Almighty said: "And who turns away from the religion of Abraham but such as [except those who] debase their souls with folly?" (Surat Al Baqarah, verse 130) [Koranic verse].
- The Almighty said: "So We have taught thee the inspired (message) 'follow the ways of Abraham the true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allah" (Surat Al-Nahl, verse 123) [Koranic verse].
- The Almighty said: "We bestowed aforetime on Abraham his rectitude of conduct and well were We acquainted with him" (Surat Al-Anbiya, verse 51) [Koranic verse].
- Allah recommended his call to us and ordered His Prophet and all Messengers, Allah's prayers and blessings on them, to follow it. Abraham's creed is "sincerity in worshipping Allah solely and dissociation for joining gods with Him and those who join gods with Him, and takfir [branding as infidel] those who do so".
- Thus all taghuts [rulers who try to usurp some of Allah's powers on earth] at all times and everywhere do not show satisfaction with Islam unless it is a blind, dumb, and mute religion.
- On the creed of Abrahm, perhaps if he had appeased them, remained silent on their wrongdoing, the corruption of their ways, and heresy in their verses, and if he had limited himself to theoretical worship of one God, his people would not have thrown him into the fire. The Almighty said: "Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which ye are now, until He separates what is evil from what is good" (Surat Ali Imran, verse 179) [Koranic verse].
- The corrupt regime and the armed forces acknowledged and admitted before everybody the previous agreements with the Zionist entity despite the clauses they contain which are voided by religion.
- In Camp David, the agreement stipulates that Sinai should remain empty and demilitarized.
- Where are the armed forces on the siege on Gaza from the Egyptian side?
- Where are the armed forces on the smuggling white poison [narcotics] from the Zionist entity and the cold war that is smuggled by some eleme nts living in the proximity of the borders?
- Where are the armed forces on the affairs of the Bedouins, the injustice, unfairness, oppression, and poverty suffered by the people of Sinai even though they stand fast in the face of the occupation and its tricks?
- Where are the armed forces on the looted resources of Sinai and the income of the Sinai inhabitant that is below zero?
- Where are the armed forces on foreign laws and on al-wala wa al-bira [proclamations of loyalty to Allah and dissociation from the infidels] and on the promotion of virtue and discouragement of sin? "The ones who are not hostile to the Jews and those who join other Gods with Allah do not know monotheism".
- The learned Shaykh Hamad Bin Atiq [fourteenth century Saudi theologian], Allah's mercy on his soul, says about appeasing apostates and those who join other gods with Allah: "Many people might think that they can show their religion if they say the two testimonies ["there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger"] and perform the five prayers but they are grossly mistaken in thinking like this".
(Enough ignorance for us)
[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Yawm al-Sabi Online in Arabic -- Website of independent liberal daily; URL: http://www.youm7.com/Default.asp]
Jama'ah Islamiyyah Condemns Attack on Sinai Police Station
GMP20110801479001 Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic 01 Aug 11
[Statement attributed to Dr Najih Ibrahim, Editor-in-Chief of the Jama'ah Islamiyyah Site, posted by "Saif al-Ansar," user number not available, dated 31 July: "Jama'ah Islamiyyah: Statement of Condemnation and Mobilization"]
With increasing grief and sorrow, we have followed what is happening in the beloved land of Sinai-- the unjust attacks on the public institutions...
We were hoping that the perpetrator would come to his senses and refrain from these acts that damage the security and well-being of the nation. We hoped he would not add a new and altogether worse challenge to Egypt's list of challenges.
But some were deluded by the conditions and circumstances the Egyptian state is facing. They continued in their transgression, strayed from that which is correct, and attacked the second precinct police station in Al-Arish in a ruthless and brutal fashion. This resulted in the death of two army and police officers, and the injury of others. We hope that the current investigations will prove that the Egyptian people are innocent of this crime, which was committed with no justification, and against people guilty of no sin.
We announce our condemnation of these vile crimes which have no relation to religion or morals. We therefore call on all political factions to put their political differences aside and announce their condemnation of this act. We call for this in order to directly confront these crimes, regardless of the affiliation of the wrongdoing perpetrators. We thereby announce our condemnation. We ask that the media does not get ahead of itself or attempt to pin the blame on any specific group. All of this muddles the work of the investigators and misleads public opinion.
We also ask that the Higher Military Council re-examine the Camp David agreement so as to allow for a strong and effective presence of our military forces on this precious bit of Egypt's land. We will not permit this land to fall victim to any foreign or domestic groups that wish to defile the security and well-being of Egypt. We are confident that the Egyptian people, who have made it through great hardships during their modern and contemporary history, are capable, God willing, of overcoming these difficult times, and will ultimately build a nation of freedom, justice, and equality. May God protect Egypt from all ill and misfortune.
The Jama'ah Islamiyyah Site
Editor-in-Chief, Dr Najih Ibrahim
31 July 2011
[To view the vernacular, click here.]
[Description of Source: Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic -- Relatively new Salafi-jihadist web forum with a focus on global jihad, online since 2008; site correspondents reliably post Al-Qa'ida and affiliate messaging; URL: www.as-ansar.com/vb]
Egypt: Al-Arish Witnesses 'Cautious Calm' After Armed Attack on Police Station
GMP20110801825003 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 01 Aug 11
[Report by Yusri Muhammad: "Shamal Sina Governor Tells Al-Sharq al-Awsat: 'Foreign Forces Working Toward Undermining Security in Governorate'; Army Makes Use of Bomb Detectors at Suez Canal Bridge"]
Major General Al-Sayyid Abd-al-Wahhab Mabruk, governor of Northern Sinai (400 km northeast of Cairo), has accused foreign parties which he did not name of working toward undermining security in Sinai. He said that "the investigation is yet to be completed. Currently, a number of suspects are being interrogated for involvement in the incident with a view to finding those responsible for orchestrating and carrying out this attack."
The Northern Sinai governor told Al-Sharq al-Awsat: "The army forces redeployed inside the city of Al-Arish, while the police forces were deployed in the outskirts of the city to ensure that no armed attacks like the ones that targeted the Al-Arish 2nd Police Station on Friday [ 29 July] will take place."
Last Friday, anonymous gunmen waged an attack on the Al-Arish 2nd Police Station resulting in the death of five people, including an army officer and a police officer, and the wounding of 21 soldiers from the Central Security Forces.
Mabruk stressed that the security situation is semi-stable now in Al-Arish. He noted that the demands of some Bedouin tribes to drop the criminal sentences issued in absentia against 252 defendants were met and that special judicial measures were taken in this regard in coordination with the Ministry of Justice and the Al-Isma'iliyah Court of Appeal.
Currently, the city of Al-Arish is witnessing cautious calm. There has been a noticeable decline in the number of people in the streets and hundreds of holidaymakers left the city yesterday.
The governor stressed that not many houses and stores were damaged during the attack. He stressed that the governorate is willing to compensate any store that suffered damages.
Meanwhile, Mabruk revealed that the gas company has contracted with a large number of Bedouin tribes through whose land the natural gas pipeline extending to Israel runs in order to protect the pipeline and ensure that it will not be blown up again. He said: "The number of these stations is 31. The company has contracted with six individuals to protect each station, in addition to contracting with another number of Bedouins to protect the regions that lie between the various stations." He explained that "the operations for repairing the pipeline used for exporting natural gas to Israel have not started to date, because currently, the required parts for its repair were being procured."
In another development, Al-Arish city remains on maximum alert two days after the attack on the Al-Arish 2nd Police Station. The army forces were intensively deployed inside the Al-Arish city and redeployed again outside public buildings, police stations, government agencies, and the Al-Arish Police Club. This is while police cars and policemen have disappeared completely from the city and the majority of the city neighborhoods have been devoid of traffic police. Scores of armored vehicles have been spotted inside the city of Al-Arish and the roads leading to it. Moreover, metal barriers have been placed outside the Al-Arish 2nd Police Station, which is surrounded by three armored vehicles. Policemen have been positioned on top of the police station's roof, and others around it.
The inhabitants of the chalets opposite the police station have evacuated the area for fear of renewed clashes, while about at least 30 houses were completely empty of their residents for the night. There was normal traffic movement outside the police station.
The security forces have stepped up security measures at the Suez Canal Bridge, where the the identity of the people arriving are being checked. The army forces are using bomb detectors to inspect the vehicles that are on their way to Sinai. Moreover, six army barriers have been set up along the road from Al-Qantarah all the way to the Al-Arish city, but no policemen are present at these barriers.
A lady called Khadijah, who is a resident in the area opposite the region that was under attack, said that she has put her house for sale as a result of the police station coming under attack for the second time since the 25 January revolution. She added that the attackers sought refuge in her courtyard and some of them went up on her roof and opened fire at the forces positioned inside the police station. She added that she was hit by shrapnel during the first attack on the police station and that she and her children spent a fearful night as a result of the second attack. She noted that bullets went through her windows and hit the furniture.
[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -- Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]
Egypt: Security Forces Prepare for Expected Terrorist Attacks in Northern Sinai
GMP20110812825011 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 12 Aug 11
[Report by Ahmad Yusuf in Cairo and Yusri Muhammad in Al-Arish: "50 Al-Qa'ida Organization Members in Sinai Identified and a Plan To Arrest Them. Egyptian Security Source to 'Al-Sharq al-Awsat': Level of Security Preparations Raised Following Information About Expected Operations"]
A high-level security source at the Egyptian Interior Ministry has announced the level of security preparations in northern Sinai was raised following the receipt of information about the intention of outlawed armed elements, which have called themselves "Al-Qa'ida organization in Sinai", to carry out more terrorist operations targeting police facilities and the pipelines exporting natural gas to Israel.
Sources have meanwhile reported that information has been obtained about the identity of the perpetrators of previous operations in Al-Arish and these have been identified as Egyptian elements and foreign ones who had taken part in the attacks and provided the weapons used in them in addition to the nature of their armament, the weapons in their possession, and some areas they frequent. They disclosed that some of the wanted elements are hard liners and were arrested following the explosions that took place in Sinai between 2004 and 2006 but were able to escape when the jails' doors were opened during the 25 January revolution's events.
Though the sources did not disclose the identity or nationality of the wanted persons, they said a number of them adopt "Al-Qa'ida's" ideology but denied that the organization has any organized presence or organization inside the Sinai Peninsula. They asserted that security commanders in the interior ministry arrived in Sinai before few days for coordinating and helping draw up the plans for these campaigns, adding that the hideouts of those wanted, numbering between 70 and 100, are being studied to prevent heavy losses in the attacking forces during the raids and pointing out that these attacks would be carried out in stages and be concentrated ones to capture the wanted elements.
On the other hand, a security source has told Al-Sharq al-Awsat that despite these gunmen's announcement of their desire to establish what they called (an Islamic emirate in Sinai), their intentions are still unclear. There is intelligence information about them contacting Israel's Mosad, getting the necessary support for implementing these terrorist operations in the country, and providing Israel with the international excuse to declare its fears for its borders so as to stop the opening of the Rafah crossing once and for all, especially after the attack of 29 July on a second police station in Al-Arish killing six persons, among them two officers in the armed forces and Egyptian police.