Islamic State Allegiance Could Cost Egypt’s Sinai Jihadis Popular Support

Islamic State Allegiance Could Cost Egypt’s Sinai Jihadis Popular Support
Egyptian security forces inspect the site of a suicide car bombing by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis in the Sinai town of el-Tor, Egypt, Oct. 7, 2013 (AP file photo by Mostafa Darwish).

Last week, the Egyptian militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (ABM), which operates primarily in the Sinai Peninsula, pledged its loyalty to the so-called Islamic State (IS). In an email interview, Zack Gold, a visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, discussed the implications for Egypt.

WPR: What are the major armed groups operating in Sinai, to what degree do they coordinate activities and do they have any foreign support?

Zack Gold: Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has been a base of armed activity, both militancy and smuggling, for many years. Following the uprising of 2011, however, the remnants of smaller jihadi groups amalgamated into Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the “Supporters of Jerusalem.”

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