Posted tagged ‘Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’

Did a Muslim Brothers armed cell or ISIS massacre 55 Egyptian policemen?

October 21, 2017

Did a Muslim Brothers armed cell or ISIS massacre 55 Egyptian policemen? DEBKAfile, October 21, 2017

If the oasis ambush was also the work of ISIS, it would indicate that these jihadists were not only terrorizing Sinai, but had also penetrated deep into the Egyptian mainland.

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An armed group of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood was reported to have waylaid an Egyptian convoy heading for its oasis hideout on Friday and murdered 55 policemen. The only survivors were 14 injured men.

But some of the evidence also points to the Islamic State as the perpetrators.

The police convoy was attacked while driving on the El-Wahat Highway from Cairo to Giza on its way to raid a secret hideout of the banned Muslim Brotherhood’s armed underground (Hasm) at the El-Bahariya Oasis in the Western Desert, 135 southwest of the capital.

The disaster, together with a string of deadly Islamist attacks in Sinai in recent weeks, raised tough questions about Egypt’s capacity to deal with the extremist terrorism plaguing the country. President Abdul-Fatteh El-Sisi immediately set up a commission of inquiry to find out how the casualty of Egyptian servicemen came to be so high – a well-tried device used by governments for keeping the details of a mishap dark until the immediate hue and cry dies down.

DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources have gleaned information that points to a merciless massacre, most likely at the hands of the Brotherhood’s armed activists. According to first reports, the policemen were killed in a shootout with the extremists during a raid of their hideout in the oasis.

The wild beauty of this vast oasis – over 2,000sq.km – makes it an attraction for visitors to Cairo especially since it is just a short drive from the capital. Its sparse inhabitants are mostly Bedouin tribes with kinship ties across the border in eastern Libya, a region where the Islamic State and Al Qaeda maintain strong footholds. Because it is only visited occasionally by foreign visitors on night-time jaunts, the Brotherhood felt the oasis was far from the long arm of Egypt’s anti-terrorist forces.

After intelligence agents discovered their location, the Brotherhood cell was ready for the raid. They set up an ambush and before the police convoy of four SUVs reached the hideout, dozens of wanted terrorists opened up with heavy machine guns, recoilless grenades and mortars, and detonated roadside bombs. The carnage was devastating.

Their tactics, involving ruthless massacre, strongly resembled the most recent Islamic State strikes against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. On Sept. 11, 18 Egyptian troops were killed near Sheikh Zuweid.

In both these outrages, the Egyptian air force was not brought in.

If the oasis ambush was also the work of ISIS, it would indicate that these jihadists were not only terrorizing Sinai, but had also penetrated deep into the Egyptian mainland.

MB Groups Increasingly Open in Endorsing Anti-Sisi Violence

August 16, 2017

MB Groups Increasingly Open in Endorsing Anti-Sisi Violence, Investigative Project on Terrorism, John Rossomando, August 16, 2017

 

A group of exiled Morsi-era Muslim Brotherhood politicians based in Istanbul has posted on Facebook a blueprint for overthrowing Egypt’s military regime. The Egyptian Revolutionary Council (ERC) reposted several videos on July 31 that it had released on Facebook over the past month offering strategies for violently toppling the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Sisi rose to power in 2013, after the military ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government.

Until now the ERC, which met with Obama administration officials and liberal think tanks in 2015, has largely been involved in lobbying against Sisi’s government. An Arabic hashtag saying, “Preparing for the Revolution#,” appeared on the ERC’s Facebook page. The attached videos contain PowerPoint-type presentations with recommendations for Muslim Brotherhood revolutionaries in Egypt.

A July 1 ERC video asks, “How do we prepare for the revolution?” Egypt’s military holds all of the tools of power, so the video calls for Brotherhood supporters to block military movement to hinder it from suppressing any revolt.

“What do we do with the Army?? Like the Turks did,” the video says. “Determine the sites of all military units and the roads they use, and the locations of gates to hinder and cripple their movement when they think they are going out to confront the revolution.

“Like the Turks did using huge vehicles and deflating their tires to block the roads. We can use heavy oil on the roads to prevent the passage of [armored personnel] carriers like they did in Venezuela.”

Another video recommends targeting regime military airfields, ground defense units, pilot barracks, spare part warehouses, radar sites, and air defense installations. It emphasizes getting soldiers who either secretly belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or are sympathetic to the group to collect intelligence on pilots and navigators to keep them away from their aircraft. It also suggests gaining intelligence on the types of aircraft used by the Egyptian military and getting information about their takeoff schedules.

“The airfields must cease operating in the time of the revolution,” a slide says. “Blockading the pilots and preventing them form reaching the airfields is half the victory in the battle.”

The ERC enjoys little influence or name recognition within Egypt, but its turn toward endorsing violence puts egg on the faces of the Obama administration officials and the liberal intellectuals who embraced them, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Samuel Tadros told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

“Even the fronts created to talk to the West are now using the language of violence,” Tadros said. “The mask has fallen; there’s no need to pretend any longer.”

ERC members used talking points about democracy and the rule of law while speaking in English during their 2015 visit, Tadros said, but those points were noticeably absent when they spoke in Arabic.

Other exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders also have called for violence recently on social media.

Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Ashraf Abdelghaffar called on Brotherhood members to return to the jihadist traditions of the movement’s founder, Hasan al-Banna. A “Mujahid Brother” – a Muslim Brotherhood member who wages violent jihad – held the highest place of honor in the movement, Abdelghaffar argued in an Aug. 5 Facebook post.

“The only weakness that shall humiliate us is the love of this world and hating death,” Abdelghaffar wrote. “Therefore we have prepared your souls for great action. Strive for death – and life will be given to you. Know that there is no escaping death, and it will happen only once, and if you carry it out for the sake of God, there will be profit in this world and reward in the Afterlife, and nothing will harm you except what Allah has decreed. Work for an honorable death, you will be thus granted full happiness. May God provide us and you, the honor of achieving the martyrdom.”

This thinking, he wrote, reflected Al-Banna’s instructions.

“Imam Al-Banna talks about elevating the word of Allah and liberating the homelands,” Abdelghaffar wrote. “The summit of Islam is Jihad in the Way of Allah.”

Muslim Brotherhood-linked terrorist groups, such as the Revolutionary Punishment Movement (RPM), Popular Resistance Movement (PRM) and the Hassm Movement, have carried out attacks across Egypt since 2014 – sometimes in conjunction with ISIS Sinai Province. RPM and PRM were founded by Mohamed Kamal, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau who was killed last October in a gun battle with Egyptian police.

Kamal’s faction of the Muslim Brotherhood executive committee, also known as the “new guard,” decided to back away from the group’s prior public policy of endorsing peaceful resistance to the Sisi regime, George Washington University Muslim Brotherhood expert Mokhtar Awad noted in a July 26 Hudson Institute article.

The Brotherhood’s Shariah Committee published a book on a file sharing website in January 2015, The Jurisprudence of the Popular Resistance to the Coup, that offered a religious justification for a campaign of violence against the Sisi regime. The book acknowledged that the Muslim Brotherhood’s touted public support for non-violence was tactical rather than a matter of principle, Awad said, citing this passage:

“Peacefulness is not a fundamental of Islam or the group [Muslim Brotherhood], and special operations work does not mean total confrontation,” the book’s authors wrote. “‘May God grant us and you the honor of martyrdom’ … the Jihadi tendency settled as a doctrine in the foundation of Imam al-Banna’s methodology and the acculturation of the Muslim Brotherhood. Until it became a slogan they repeat day and night and on every occasion: ‘God is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Quran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of God is our greatest hope.”

The Jurisprudence of the Popular Resistance to the Coup appeared around the same time as the Brotherhood’s official Arabic website, Ikhwanonline, posted a communiqué calling for “a long, unrelenting jihad.”

Peacefulness isn’t a fundamental tenet of Islam or the Brotherhood and that things can change. Magdy Shalash, one of Kamal’s top Muslim Brotherhood deputies, told the Turkish-based pro-Brotherhood channel Mekameleen TV. The Brotherhood leadership’s espousal of a non-violent slogan after the military toppled President Morsi did not apply to self-defense, he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s old guard, headed by Acting Supreme Guide Mahmoud Ezzat, still talks about peace, but the proliferation of violence and violent rhetoric shows it is losing control of the movement.

EXCLUSIVE: Former Egyptian Terrorism Official Exposes the Muslim Brotherhood’s Terror Networks (Part 2)

May 16, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Former Egyptian Terrorism Official Exposes the Muslim Brotherhood’s Terror Networks (Part 2), PJ MediaPatrick Poole, May 16, 2017

(Part I is available at PJ Media and here. — DM)

In Part 2 below, Col. Okasha details the following topics:

  • Laying out the financing of Mohamed Kamal’s terror cells
  • The events that led up to Kamal’s killing last October in a shootout with security forces
  • The fallout from Mohamed Kamal’s death
  • The evolution of Kamal’s terror networks into Hassm and Liwa al-Thawra
  • And the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas role in setting up the second front in the war against the June 30 regime in Sinai, namely Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, now known as Wilyat Sinai, or, the Islamic State affiliate in Sinai.

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How was Kamal’s network financed?

After August 14, 2013, it was very clear that they didn’t have enough financial resources, and that was clear in the type of terrorist operations they conducted before that time. But starting from 2014, after about seven months, it seemed that another financial system was put in place and was injecting large financial amounts to the terror cells. Later on it was figured out that they received external transfers but those transfers would come through the foreign exchange businesses operating across Egypt that were handed over to unknown persons, “new faces” that the security services didn’t know about. Those persons would then deliver the money to the operation room that was operated by Mohamed Kamal.

The Egyptian security were able to figure out who was running the financial side of the Muslim Brotherhood after August 2013, and that’s why they suffered financially for seven or eight months. Those seven or eight months was the time they needed to explore new avenues to provide financially for the Brotherhood. They used the foreign exchange companies, and they used the Brotherhood sisters to create bank accounts and to receive outside transfers, because usually the security forces had never before targeted the women of the Brotherhood, so that was a new avenue they used.

We saw that Mohamed Kamal was killed by security forces in October 2016. What led up to that, and what has been the fall out since his death?

When the Brotherhood started counting on Kamal to run the terror cells, and it was obvious to the Brotherhood that they had an armed militia operating, they began talking between themselves that Kamal was the new spiritual guide because he had full control over the youth of the Brotherhood and full control over the money injected into Egypt. He used the money to finance the terror cells and he used the money to support the families of the Brotherhood all over Egypt. So the youth of the Brotherhood began to call for Kamal to be their supreme guide and that caused a major rift between the old guard and the new guard, and they started exchanging communiques between them back and forth, and of course the old guard refused to have Mohamed Kamal as the new supreme guide, and the new young MB refused to bow to the old guard again.

Because they were all chased by the security back then, there were a war of statements between three fronts: the Mohamed Kamal front, the old guard front, and the Brotherhood in Turkey who were very supportive of the old guard against Mohamed Kamal, and they issued a statement that they would never accept or approve of Kamal taking the role of supreme guide. So the whole thing remained in stagnation or in the realm of statements because they were being chased by security. It took almost a year of statements and anti-statements beginning in early 2015 until Mohamed Kamal was killed in October 2016 to resolve itself.

So the Brotherhood’s international organization wanted to have both sides working with each other, like the MB leaders in prison, and the MB in Qatar or outside the country in any way, and they wanted those to run the organization, but they wanted Mohamed Kamal to be the leader of the militants of the Brotherhood, so that’s why they didn’t take any side between both sides, and they wanted very hard to reconcile them with each other so they could work together. Again, on the political level, the social level, and the armed level.

The international organization communicated to Mohamed Kamal that they could not take his side against the old guard, because Kamal’s group have gone out and spoke about explicit violence against the regime. So the international organization were very afraid that their reputation would be effected if took his side with his people calling for violence, so that started worrying other branches of the Brotherhood, especially in Morocco, Tunisia, and very specifically in Jordan, and they began talking about leaving the Brotherhood for good, so that’s why the international organization wanted both sides to reconcile and work together.

So the old guard against Mohamed Kamal figured that the war of statements went into a point of no return, and no part was able to take over the other part. At that time, the security forces were gathering information on the operations room, and it seems that the old guard in the prison decided to snitch on Mohamed Kamal and let one of their snitches leak his whereabouts to police. That’s when police arrived at his safehouse and found it a highly secured location with lots of explosives, bombs, bomb vests, and Kalashnikovs. There was a big fight going on with a lot of police officers injured, but none died, and they had to kill those, Mohamed Kamal and five others with him.

At this point you have to know that it’s part of the Brotherhood operation that when someone goes rogue on the organization, they either take the decision to assassinate him, or throw him to the police forces for them to take care of them. What proves this point is after the death of Mohamed Kamal everything went to normal within the organization again, and their problems suddenly vanished.

Now it seems that one of the leaders, an unknown name so far, decided to change the MO and focus on only two groups, the largest groups, because the smaller ones were easily taken by security. So they decided to merge the rest of them into two large groups. That ended up with Hassm and Liwa al-Thawra. Those guys are much more professional than the other cells, and it seems they have received some training in Sinai, and that’s very obvious in their preparedness and the type of operations they conduct. Still the name is not known of the person who is running the scene after Mohamed Kamal, but it’s very possible that each of those groups has their own leader, but that’s all we know so far.

And so we have pretty good reason to believe that Hassm and Liwa al-Thawra are still operating at the direction and support of the Brotherhood?

Without any doubt, yes.

There is no doubt that Hassm and Liwa al-Thawra are serving the Muslim Brotherhood. They were created by Mohamed Kamal, not after Mohamed Kamal. They started their operations during Mohamed Kamal’s time.

Second, all their operations, all the attacks they conducted were very serving to the Brotherhood and falls within their best interests. For example, when the Brotherhood cases were being discussed in courts, they attacked the judges that were hearing the cases of the Brotherhood. All of the videos that they have on the internet talking about Mohamed Morsi and using the same Brotherhood rhetoric about fighting the regime, so there’s no doubt that these guys belong to and serve the Brotherhood.

You’ve literally written the book on the development of the terror networks in the Sinai. Could you talk about the development of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, and what role the Brotherhood and Hamas played in their development?

Right after January 2011 there was a flow of those who call themselves mujahedeen, from around Egypt, and outside of Egypt, the old mujahedeen those who served in Afghanistan and Chechnya, they arrived in Sinai and they established up to twelve cells. One of those was ABM.

At this time I was stationed in Sinai, and I was close to Al-Arish, Sheikh Zweid, and Rafah.

It was very obvious that there was consistent support from the Brotherhood or interest that these new organization that they were formed and stationed in Sinai at this time.

Two examples on the relationship between the Brotherhood and those organizations. Those who were managing and supporting the new organizations in Sinai were people from North Sinai that later on when the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party was formed they were the leaders of the FJ Party in Sinai. Some of those guys ran for the Parliament and were elected. Some went to the Parliament and others the Shura Council. That was during the SCAF time during the transition.

The second example that these groups were serving the Brotherhood or acting on their orders and supervision is that they didn’t conduct any operations. They would only be activated whenever there were negotiations taking place between SCAF and the Brotherhood. At any given point when the Brotherhood were negotiating on something with the SCAF you would witness a pattern with the uprising of terror attacks in the Sinai, like the bombing of the gas pipelines between Egypt and Israel, attacking the army stations in Sinai, so it all depended on whether the Brotherhood were negotiating something with the SCAF.

There were four major political events taking place back then. That was the March Constitution, the Parliament elections, the Shura Council elections, and then the presidential elections when Mohamed Morsi was elected. Each time we were approaching one of those major political events, terrorism would suddenly disappear and the same vehicles that were armed with RPG’s and Kalashnikovs, they would take the arms from off the cars and stickers and they would use it for supporting the Brotherhood politically all over the place. Then they would bring people for political gatherings, and stuff like that. There was no clearer indication than this.

It would be safe until the political situation was over, and then you would witness another attack.

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Tomorrow we will present the concluding Part 3 of my interview with Khaled Okasha.