Country Reports on Terrorism 2014 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis

aka Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis; Ansar Jerusalem; Supporters of Jerusalem; Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes; Ansar Beit al-Maqdis; Jamaat Ansar Beit al-Maqdis; Jamaat Ansar Beit al-Maqdis fi Sinaa; Supporters of the holy place

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on April 9, 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) rose to prominence in 2011 following the Egyptian uprisings and is responsible for attacks on Israel and Egyptian government and security elements, and tourists in Egypt. In November 2014, ABM officially declared allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Activities: ABM has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Israeli interests, including a July 2012 attack against a Sinai pipeline exporting gas to Israel and an August 2012 rocket attack on the southern Israeli city of Eilat. In September 2012, ABM militants attacked an Israeli border patrol, killing one soldier and injuring another.

In October 2013, ABM claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing targeting the South Sinai Security Directorate in el Tor, which killed three people and injured more than 45. In January 2014, ABM successfully downed an Egyptian military helicopter in a missile attack, killing five soldiers on board; and also claimed responsibility for four attacks involving car bombs and hand grenades in Cairo, which left six people dead and over 70 wounded, many of them civilian bystanders.

ABM has targeted government officials, including the September 2013 attempted assassination of the Egyptian Interior Minister, and the January 2014 assassination of the head of the Interior Minister's technical office. In February 2014, ABM claimed responsibility for the bombing of a tour bus in the Sinai Peninsula, killing the Egyptian driver and three South Korean tourists, in its first attack against foreign tourists.

In October 2014, ABM beheaded four individuals who they claimed spied for Israel. Also in October, ABM claimed an attack on a security checkpoint that left over 26 Egyptian soldiers dead and wounded 26 others, including civilians. ABM subsequently released a video of the attack as part of its announcement declaring allegiance to ISIL in November 2014.

Strength: ABM is estimated to have several hundred fighters in the Sinai and affiliated cells in the Nile Valley.

Location/Area of Operation: Even though ABM's operations are based out of the Sinai Peninsula, the group's reach extends to Cairo and the Egyptian Nile Valley, and across the border into Gaza.

Funding and External Aid: Although the source of ABM's funding is largely unknown, there are indications that ABM may receive funding from external actors.


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