Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Islamic State-Sinai Province (ISIS-SP)

aka Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis; Ansar Jerusalem; Supporters of Jerusalem; Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes; Ansar Beit al-Maqdis; ISIL Sinai Province; Islamic State in the Sinai; Jamaat Ansar Beit al-Maqdis; Jamaat Ansar Beit al-Maqdis fi Sinaa; Sinai Province; Supporters of the Holy Place; The State of Sinai; Wilayat Sinai

Description: Originally designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on April 9, 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) rose to prominence in 2011 following the uprisings in Egypt. It is responsible for attacks against Israeli and Egyptian government and security elements, and against tourists in Egypt. In November 2014, ABM officially declared allegiance to ISIS. In September 2015, the Department of State amended ABM's designation to add the aliases ISIL Sinai Province and Islamic State-Sinai Province (ISIS-SP), among others.

Activities: ISIS-SP has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Israeli interests, including a July 2012 attack against a Sinai pipeline exporting gas to Israel and a September 2012 attack targeting an Israeli border patrol, which killed one soldier and injured another.

In October 2013, ISIS-SP 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, ISIS-SP successfully downed an Egyptian military helicopter in a missile attack, killing five soldiers on board. ISIS-SP has targeted government officials, including the January 2014 assassination of the head of the Interior Minister's technical office. In February 2014, ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for the bombing of a tour bus in the Sinai Peninsula, killing the Egyptian driver and three South Korean tourists; the attack was ISIS-SP's first against foreign tourists.

In October 2014, ISIS-SP claimed a strike on a security checkpoint that killed 33 Egyptian soldiers and wounded 26 others, including civilians. On November 4, 2015, ISIS-SP released an audio recording in which it claimed responsibility for the October 31 bombing of a Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, Russia. All 224 passengers and seven crew members were killed.

On August 5, 2015, ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for the July 22 abduction of Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek, who worked as a topographer for a French energy company. Salopek was kidnapped on October 6 in the western desert, approximately 20 km west of the suburbs of Cairo. ISIS-SP demanded the release of all female Muslims in Egyptian prisons within 48 hours in exchange for Salopek. Salopek was ultimately beheaded and ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for the killing.

Throughout the course of 2016, ISIS-SP carried out numerous attacks in the Sinai, including a January double-bombing that killed two Egyptian policemen and two military officers. The group was also responsible for a July wide-scale coordinated attack on several military checkpoints that reportedly killed more than 50 people.

On September 11, 2017, ISIS-SP attacked an Egyptian police convoy in an ambush that killed 18 soldiers and injured more.

Strength: ISIS-SP is estimated to have between 800 and 1,200 fighters in the Sinai Peninsula and affiliated cells in the Nile Valley.

Location/Area of Operation: ISIS-SP operations are based out of the Sinai Peninsula, but its reach extends to Cairo, the Egyptian Nile Valley, and Gaza.

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


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