Islamists in Egypt Condemn Alleged 'Salafist Jihad' Threat

Article Summary
The perceived rise in extremist groups in Egypt’s Sinai region is increasingly a cause for alarm among the country’s ruling Islamists. Al-Masry Al-Youm reports on an apparent threat against the military from Salafist Jihadist groups. A leader of the Salafist Jihadists denied reports that they had issued such a threat.

Islamist groups condemned the statement that was issued the day before yesterday [Aug. 19] and attributed to "Salafist Jihadists" in the Sinai. The statement threatened to target Egyptian army soldiers participating in the "Neser" operation, aimed at cleansing the Sinai of terrorists. Islamists declared their refusal to target Israel with rockets from Egyptian territory.

Mohammed Hassan, spokesman for the Islamist al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya group, said that the group rejected the Jihadist statement because it included phrases that alluded to implicit threats against the Egyptian army and the ruling regime. He added that the group rejected the idea put forward by the statement, which would enable Salafist Jihadists to enter into war with the Zionist entity, arguing that this is the business of the state, not that of individuals.

Hassan also told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the state is entitled to use all means it deems appropriate to maintain security in the country and for its citizens if it fails to reach a peaceful solution with the Jihadists. Meanwhile, the group believes that a security and military solution alone is not enough to stabilize the situation in the Sinai.

Khalid Saeed, spokesman for the Salafist front, said he did not think that the statement was issued by Salafist Jihadists and added that such a claim was illogical. Saeed advised the Salafists to nominate a political representative that would make official statements on their behalf via a legitimate channel.

Saeed said that the operations carried out by the Salafist Jihadists paves the wave for the cancellation of the [Camp David Accords] signed between Egypt and Israel. This required quick intervention on the part of the General Intelligence Services to start a serious and decisive dialogue between the armed forces and the Salafist Jihadists in order to bring them together, Saeed added.

Adel Afifi, head of the Salafist Al-Asala Party, said that the destruction of the gas pipeline and the attack on [the Israeli port town of] Eilat are the result of a wrong interpretation that Salafists must forget and instead prioritize the interests of the Egyptian people.

Abdel Rahman Shorbagy, member of the High Commission of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party in northern Sinai, said that the party is combating takfiri thought patterns [which refers to when a Muslim declares another Muslim a nonbeliever] with gatherings that include religious sermons made by tribal sheikhs. These meetings are attended by scientists and experts in theology, jurisprudence and Shariah, who give lectures on moderate Islam.

Gamal Heshmat, member of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Shura Council, has called for Jidhadists to be prosecuted, arrested and brought to military trials if they continue to threaten national security.

Heshmat told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Jihadists did not carry out any operations targeting Eilat or Tel Aviv as they claim; however, they were one of the reasons behind the killings of the soldiers in Rafah.

Adel Shehato, a leader of the Salafist Jihadists, denied reports that the Sinai's Jihadists issued a statement threatening the Egyptian army, claiming that such an idea was far removed from their ideology.

Found in: terrorism, sinai, security, salafist jihadists, salafist, rafah, muslim brotherhood, jihadists, jihad, israel, egyptian army, egypt
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