Egypt’s deadliest terrorist group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State jihadists, branded the regime of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi “Zionist collaborators” and vowed to liberate Jerusalem once it had ousted his government.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has spearheaded an insurgency in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula and now calls itself the Sinai branch of Islamic State, on Friday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack last month that killed 30 soldiers.
In a video posted on social media, the group showed footage of the attack, including its gunmen shooting dead some of those injured in the bombing at close range, and its seizure of Egyptian army weaponry.
It branded el-Sissi “the servant of the Jews” and vowed to behead and dismember him and his regime.
The goal of “liberating Jerusalem,” it said, “will be possible only when Egypt is cleansed of Zionist collaborators.” El-Sissi’s army, it added, “is in collaboration with the Jews.”
The group has killed scores of policemen and soldiers since the army overthrew president Mohammed Morsi last year, but the October 24 attack in which a jihadist rammed a military checkpoint in northern Sinai with an explosives-packed car was the deadliest such incident in years.
It said it was acting in retaliation for a crackdown on Islamist supporters following Morsi’s removal from power.
At least 1,400 people have been killed in the crackdown, while more than 15,000 have been jailed and hundreds sentenced to death.
In the video, the group promises further attacks against the security forces and said it was speaking directly to el-Sissi, the former army chief who toppled Morsi and unleashed a crackdown on Islamists.
Earlier this week, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State organization in Iraq and Syria in a bid to boost recruitment and bolster its fight against the Egyptian army, according to analysts.
AFP contributed to this report.