Ansar Beit Al Maqdis releases second beheading videoOctober 7, 2014 in Egypt
5 October, 2014– Ansar Beit al Maqdis (ABM), a Sinai-based militant group, released a video showing the execution of four men accused of spying for the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, and the Egyptian army. In the video, the four men recorded their ‘confessions’ and urged other ‘spies’ to publicly repent. The victims said that ABM knows who the spies are, and they will not be spared. Three of the victims were beheaded, their heads placed atop their backs. A fourth was shot multiple times.
In the video, an ABM spokesman cautioned that the militants would storm peoples’ homes to kill and capture those they suspected as being army agents. The video is the second depicting ABM beheading victims accused of spying for Egypt or Israel. A video released in August shows the beheading of four Egyptians accused of providing Israel with intelligence for an air strike that killed three of its fighters. In September, Sinai residents found a decapitated corpse bearing a note signed ABM. The victim was also accused of being an Israeli spy.
The ABM videos are similar to those released by ISIS, and underscore the connection between ABM and the notorious group. A spokesman for ABM said last month that ISIS had been advising them on how to operate more effectively. This weekend’s footage shows members of Ansar Beit al Maqdis manning checkpoints to search for spies, and overlays statements from a September speech given by ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, in which he urges Sinai-based militants to kill Egyptian security personnel.
In what appears to be a response to this call, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis announced they would launch attacks targeting police and soldiers during Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday which began on Saturday.
Prior to the holiday, on Thursday unknown assailants travelling by motorbike threw a bag containing a bomb near the municipal governor’s in Egypt’s Gharbia governorate. The blast wounded Gharbia security chief, Mohamed Rizk, and a security guard. One of the men is said to be in a critical condition. One security source says at least five explosions hit the governorate on Thursday; the bombers are suspected to be members of ABM. On Sunday, a ‘sound bomb’ detonated near the Evangelical Church in Minya. No casualties or damage has been reported. ABM has not taken responsibility for this attack.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has been a major security threat since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The group has killed hundreds of police officers and military personnel and targeted security infrastructure. The attacks have also resulted in civilian casualties. Authorities have struggled to combat ABM and to dismantle their relationship with ISIS. On Sunday, security forces have arrested four Egyptian nationals who were suspected members of a militant cell recruiting fighters for ISIS.
On 3 October, the Egyptian army announced that they have killed twelve militants and arrested 68 in raids across four different governorates: North Sinai, Ismailia, Port Said and Daqahlia. Among those killed was Mohamed Abu Shatiya, a field commander of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. The military also claims to have seized 17 vehicles and 49 motorcycles, and destroyed a field hospital which was used by the militants. The government is in the midst of a large-scale campaign to eradicate militant groups in the region, and has systematically demolished houses and tunnels being used by extremists.