The jihadist insurgency against the Egyptian army and its local allies in the Sinai region has been dominated since late 2014 by the Islamic State's 'Sinai province', the origins of which primarily lay in the group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. There has however been at least one other noteworthy jihadist group present in the Sinai region: Jama'at Jund al-Islam (Group of the Soldiers of the Islam), but its own media output has been infrequent and it is clearly much weaker than the Islamic State's Sinai province/affiliate. Jama'at Jund al-Islam has appeared to be more aligned with the Islamic State's rival al-Qa'ida.
Now a detailed report from this week's issue of the Islamic State newsletter al-Naba' provides some more insight on relations between the Islamic State in Sinai and this group. The Islamic State's Sinai province/affiliate claims to have been working to destroy what remains of this small group, revealing what it claims is the group's alliance with the 'Sahwa forces' (i.e. local allies of the Egyptian army and security forces) against the Islamic State's Sinai province/affiliate. According to the al-Naba' report, the Sinai province/affiliate previously allowed the remnants of the group that did not pledge allegiance to refrain from pledging allegiance while guaranteeing them protection and rights, provided the group dissolved itself and laid aside its arms. Despite this arrangement, those remnants allegedly then moved to an area where they could protect themselves through the 'Sahwa forces', and slandered the Islamic State, attacked it, conducted espionage against it and provided aid to the 'apostates' against it. These actions prove the group's 'apostasy' and justify the Sinai province/affiliate's war on it. In the course of recent operations, documents proving the espionage activities have supposedly been captured.
As is the case with the infighting in the Sahel region of West Africa, this report should put to rest the notion that partnership between the Islamic State and al-Qa'ida is on the horizon.
Below is the report translated in full. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own, except for the translations of photo captions from the original article.
Extermination of what remains of the gang of 'Jund al-Islam' that has been retracting into the embrace of the Sahwa forces
Security source to 'al-Naba": we have captured important documents revealing their involvement in spying on the mujahideen and exposing their backs to the apostates.
[Photo caption: the soldiers of the Caliphate after their attack on the position of the apostate 'Jund al-Islam' gang southwest of the village of al-Burath].
The soldiers of the Caliphate in Sinai killed seven of the members of the 'Jund al-Islam' gang and took prisoner the eighth of them in an attack they launched on a position of theirs in the area of the apostate Sahwa forces in the village of al-Burath. And a security source revealed to al-Naba' revealed the gradualism of the mujahideen in their dealing with this group during the past years and striving to assimilate them and even have them made neutral, until things got to the point with them that they moved to settle among the backs of the apostate Sahwa forces, and allied with them then got involved in the war and fighting against the mujahideen, and divulging their secrets and spying on them and revealing their support for the apostates and Jews! Thus they committed the nullifiers of Islam that made their blood permissible and has been a reason in extirpating their root and cutting their root from the Ard al-Manaja [i.e. land of Sinai].
One Prisoner and Seven Killed from the 'Jund al-Shaytan'
And in the details, a security source said to 'al-Naba" that the soldiers of the Caliphate attacked on the morning of Tuesday 2 Dhu al-Q'ida a position of personnel of the apostate so-called 'Jund al-Islam' south of Rafah, as the mujahideen infiltrated to their position located southwest of the village of al-Burath and they clashed with them with machine gun weapons for more than half an hour, then during it seven of them were killed among them their leader 'Abu Ayyub' and an eighth member was taken prisoner, and they were all personnel of the group. And weapons, ammunition and equipment that were in their possession were taken as spoils. Then the mujahideen burnt their positions of concentrate before withdrawing from the place safely, and praise be to God.
They Prevent Targeting of the Sahwa Forces
And the source clarified to 'al-Naba" that the aforementioned group was using the areas of the Sahwa forces as a base for its personnel, and they were tantamount to safety valves for the apostate Sahwa forces from the southwest side of the village of al-Burath, as they were preventing the mujahideen from reaching the positions of the Sahwa forces from this axis, and they stood as a wall and barrier to the targeting of them.
And the source revealed that a security detachment of the soldiers of the Caliphate tried last month to infiltrate to the inside of the al-Burath square with the aim of carrying out a security operation against the Sahwa forces, but this group blocked their way and clashed with them, which led the mujahideen to withdraw after the uncovering of the operation, and following that the leadership of the mujahideen decided to destroy this apostate gang that has abandoned fighting the apostates and has allied with them, and has found the time to fight the mujahideen and wage war against them.
Refraining from Unity and Gathering
And concerning the circumstances of the appearance of this group the source said that after the coup of the Taghut [false idol tyrant] Sisi in the middle of 1434 AH, all the factions in Sinai united in one group and only this group refrained, and after the mujahideen in Sinai joined the Islamic State and announced Wilayat Sinai in Muharram 1436 AH and what followed that from great conquests and expeditions on the fortresses and positions of the apostates, many of the members of this group joined Wilayat Sinai and only a few of them refrained from pledging allegiance.
They Chose a Judge and Contravened His Ruling!
And the source explained that the amirs of the wilaya afterwards invited those remaining of them to come to the judgement of the law of God, and they resorted to the ruling of a judge they chose by themselves, so the ruling of the judge was that the small group should join the big group (the Islamic State), so as a result of that their group should dissolve and their members should join the ranks of the wilaya in obedience to God, and in realisation of His command to unite and gather, but they refused that and rejected the ruling of the judge they chose! And they placed checkpoints to express their rejection of the ruling, and despite that the leaders of the mujahideen embraced patience and self-restraint to avoid bloodshed, and they decided to sit with the members of this group one by one, in excuse towards God Almighty.
A Small Gang That Rejected the Truth and Waged War Against It!
And the source added that after the Shari'i officials of the wilaya sat with the members of this group and refuted the doubts among them, God opened up the hearts of most of them to the truth so they pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and only around 15 members refrained from allegiance as they deemed themselves above following the truth, and they joined on this state of affairs of theirs until they got involved subsequently in the killing of one of the people without right and without proof!
[Photo captions from right to left: spoils God granted the mujahideen after their attack on the position of the 'Jund al-Islam' gang; one of the slain of the 'Jund al-Islam' gang during the attack].
This led the Hisba commission to detain them and put them before the Shari'i court. And the source affirmed that the court decided at that time to dissolve what remained of their group and confiscate their weapons, and in exchange it granted them the same rights of the soldiers of the wilaya including financial salary, and it allowed them to remain in the areas of their control without obliging them to pledge allegiance, so they showed in the beginning compliance with the ruling and their contentment with it, but they secretly harboured malice and hatred towards the soldiers of the Caliphate, awaiting the chance to take revenge on them and betray them.
Plunging into the Embraces of the Sahwa Forces of al-Burath
And the source clarified that the sliding of these people to the camp of apostasy began when the fighting flared up between the mujahideen and the apostate Sahwa forces affiliated with the army in the month of Sha'aban in 1438 AH, when they exploited that and rushed to abandon the areas of the mujahideen and joined the areas of the Sahwa forces after 'their military official' made available for them a base in the south of the village of al-Burath as it is a hotbed of the Sahwa forces, and they began living among their backs, and serving with them in one trench to fight the soldiers of the Islamic State! And from there this apostate gang began playing its suspected role in waging war on the mujahideen, defaming them, inciting against them and striving to fight them, so they waged war on the monotheists and conciliated with the apostate as is the custom of their ilk in all the fields of jihad.
Fighting the Mujahideen in Alliance With the Sahwa Forces
And the source revealed that this gang after getting into the trench of the Sahwa forces killed two of the mujahideen in betrayal and they are the brother 'Ammar al-Ansari' and the brother 'Abu Aslam al-Ansari' (may God accept them both). And the strange thing is that 'account of the Sahwa forces' announced the claiming of the same operation in which the two mujahideen (may God accept them both) were killed. And that was in a statement they published on 22 Muharram 1439 AH and the Sahwa forces said in their statement that the attack was carried out by an 'auxiliary group affiliated with them'!
And the source explained that after this apostate group became certain that the mujahideen had come to know the identity of the perpetrators, it rushed to claim the operation officially through an audio statement they published on date 22 Safr 1439 under the title 'Claiming a security operation in resisting the aggression of the Khawarij of al-Baghdadi in Sinai!'
And the source in talking to al-Naba' asked himself how it was possible for us to bring together the Sahwa forces' claim of the operation and the mentioning of its details, then this group's subsequent claiming of the same operation with the same details?! Are they two swords in one scabbard?! Or two faces of one coin?! Or both?! Or was it a joint operation between two allies whose aims have overlapped in the war on the mujahideen? They are all the same.
They Have Exposed the Backs of the Mujahideen to the Jews and Apostates
And concerning the most dangerous of their crimes, the source revealed the involvement of this gang in divulging the secrets of the mujahideen to the enemy through revealing their names and areas of their presence through their wireless devices and suspect media platforms that have become a preferred source of information for the intelligence apparatuses, drawing from them what their spies could not attain, for they have exposed in that the backs of the mujahideen to the Jews and the apostates! And they have been a source of help and aid for them against the mujahideen, and a poisoned danger in their side.
Also these people have participated in the media war directed against the soldiers of the Caliphate at the same time as the intensification of the attack of the army and the Sahwa forces on the mujahideen and they have been busily engaged in slandering their jihad that they previously blessed when they were protected in their ranks during the resisting of the campaigns on the villages of Sinai!
'Their Leader' Between Today and Yesterday
And the source added to al-Naba' that at the head of these people has been their leader the apostate 'Abu Ayyub' who has been on watch on the social media sites slandering the mujahideen and their leaders and revealing their names! And attacking them, after he was yesterday flattering them and affirming the soundness of their path and the truth of their jihad, hiding behind their ranks when the army launched campaigns against the village of al-Muqati'a, and praising their jihad and efforts in defending the muslims, while shaving his beard and hiding among the masses at the time of the campaigns on the village of al-Kharafeen, abandoning his weapons with others besides him, not daring to bear them!
And the source clarified that after their leader and his gang established themselves in the square of the apostates, behold he let forth his beard and was driving a four-by-four equipped with heavy machine guns, after he was too afraid to bear his rifle previously, departing and going among the backs of the Sahwa forces, at the time when the campaigns of the apostates were setting from their areas without their obstructing them or they obstructing them [those campaigns]! So they had abandoned fighting the army and apostates and directed their hired rifles towards the chests of the mujahideen only.
Penetration and Suspicious Circumstances
And the source pointed out that their leader Abu Ayyub was previously their 'media official' before assuming the leadership of the group after the killing of their previous leader in a surprise Egyptian raid, which came after their apostate military official 'Ahmad al-Arjani' opened fire on their position after they announced 'his expulsion' on the pretext of 'lack of his compliance with the policy and regulations of the group'.
And the source mentioned that their military official known by the name of 'Bika al-Arjani' was the source of their support during the previous time, and he was the one who made available for them the land in which they established themselves in the al-Burath region, and he was the one who vouched for them and testified for them among the Sahwa forces by virtue of his suspect relations.
[Photo captions from right to left: databases of spying on the mujahideen found in the possession of the gang; documents attesting to the tracking of the wireless frequencies of the mujahideen on a constant basis].
This was especially so in that his uncle is the apostate 'Ibrahim al-Arjani' the leader of the Sahwa forces who is fugitive from Sinai. And despite that they affirmed in the statement of his expulsion that 'the brotherhood of religion and Islam remains valid' between them!
And the source clarified that even after the tension of their relation with their military official who is still fighting the mujahideen in the ranks of the Sahwa forces until now, they have continued to live in the areas of the Sahwa forces, protecting their backs and preventing their being targeted as happened recently during the past month.
Important Documents in the Possession of the Mujahideen
And in this context, the security source affirmed to al-Naba' that the mujahideen obtained important documents from the site of the attack, and it became clear through these documents and interrogations with one of their prisoners that they were listening to the wireless contacts of the mujahideen on a constant basis! And they were preparing databases with the true names of the mujahideen and their numbers on the wireless devices!!- this is in suspect conduct that bears no explanation except collaboration and espionage!
The security source said to al-Naba' that the series of their betrayals and their suspect role did not stop at this extent, for the interrogations revealed that this gang tried to help parties outside Sinai in implementing their conspiracies that aim to undermine the mujahideen of the wilaya.
And the source pointed out that multiple parties inside Egypt and outside it have tried to inflate the spirit in this gang and promote it in media and make it out to be much bigger than its size on the land of reality, and all that in the hope of creating a pawn they can exploit in their war against the soldiers of the Caliphate, but their hopes have been burned with the burning of the dens of this group and the destruction of it, by the grace of God.
And the security source pointed out in concluding of discussion that the soldiers of the Caliphate did not fight this group except after their apostasy was established in waging war on the mujahideen, exposing their secrets and supporting the apostates against them, so they fought them and implemented the ruling of God Almighty on them, and your Lord does not oppress anyone.
[Photo captions going clockwise from top: one of their espionage reports; espionage reports in their handwriting, their statement claiming an attack against the mujahideen].