Sinai’s Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis Releases Video ‘Disclaiming’ Egypt’s Army Statements

The Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis released a video clip on Youtube on Wednesday purporting to show its members roaming freely and establishing checkpoints, evidence that it says undercuts the Egyptian army’s recent claims of success against militants in North Sinai.

The 18-minute video is divided into three parts.

The first shows houses and farms allegedly destroyed in airstrikes carried out by the Egyptian army, which is referred to in the video as the “Camp David Army,” a reference to the Egyptian-Israeli treaty in 1979 which returned control of Sinai to Egypt.

Army spokesman Ahmed Ali is accused of lying over statements he has made concerning the effectiveness of the army’s campaigns in Sinai.

Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s armed forces have regularly released statements suggesting a successful crackdown on militants in the restive Sinai peninsula.

The army has announced the killing of tens and arrest of hundreds of militants, in addition to the destruction of dozens of huts suspected to be owned by terrorist groups.

It has also waged a severe crackdown on tunnels between the borders with Gaza arguing that it is used by militants to transport weapons.

The second part of the video consists of an interview with a young man called Mohamed Soliman Mosalam, who admits that he had been recruited by the Israeli spy agency Mossad for intelligence gathering in North Sinai, especially on religiously conservative residents and the network of underground tunnels used to traffic goods into the Gaza Strip.

The young man also claims that he has easily crossed the Rafah border with other alleged Mossad spies thanks to a lack of Egyptian border guards, which are called “traitors” for abandoning the border “to the Jews.”

The video’s final section shows the militant group setting up checkpoints on the Al-Arish highway outside the city of Rafah. Wearing masks and uniforms similar to those of the Egyptian army, the militants inspect passing cars while brandishing RPGs.

While the authenticity of the video has not yet been confirmed, it was published on Youtube channels that Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis has used to claim responsibility for a variety of recent attacks, including the failed assassination attempt on the interior minister in September, shooting down a military helicopter in North Sinai in January and the bombing of a police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura last December.

Source : Ahram online