Sinai Peninsula militants leave Egypt for Libya, join other militant groups

Published May 9th, 2016 - 08:00 GMT
The remains of vehicles bombed by Daesh militants in Libya. (AFP/File)
The remains of vehicles bombed by Daesh militants in Libya. (AFP/File)

Scores of leaders and recruits of extremist militias, belonging to Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, have fled the Sinai Peninsula – located east of Egypt- crossing the border and entering Libya.

Over the last three months, militants had looked for sanctuary from the Egyptian army stranglehold.

Extremists stealthily crossed over the Egyptian-Libyan border, past barren deserts and bumpy roads. Boarding trafficking vessels, Libyan security sources revealed that some of the militants had entered the country by sea.

However, after entering Libya, extremist groups had become notorious for incursions and internal strife, disputes turned into bloodshed in Tripoli. Only two weeks ago, among others reported dead, had a prominent Egyptian figurehead called Sheikh Marwan been killed.

The Egyptian organization soon fell apart, crumbling into smaller brawling groups which, at a constant, are unsettled on whether to pledge allegiance to Daesh, al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Amongst the three embattled groups are “al-A’sali group”, “al-Bassal” and “Abu al-Mohajer.”

Al-A’sali group was founded by an Egyptian citizen originating from Port Said, a city that lies in northeast Egypt. The group has taken roots in Libya two months ago, spreading in each of Tripoli and Khoms. This group is affiliated with al-Qaeda Libyan offshoots.

As for al-Bassal, originally sprouting from the Sinai Peninsula, the group has only arrived to Libya a month ago. Most terrorists belonging to this faction are active in Misurata, which is a city in the Misurata District in northwestern Libya. On multiple occasions, they have also proved loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Last but not least, Abu al-Mohajer, one of the most highlighted groups of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, has recently fled to Libya, and it is believed that the faction is led by a barred Egyptian officer. The group has taken headquarters in Sirte, which is a city located halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi, and has raised the Daesh flag.

Former theorist of the “Gamaat Islamiya,” otherwise known as Egyptian the Islamic Group, Sheikh Najeh Ibrahim said that Ansar Bait al-Maqdis have – over the last 12 years- committed heinous violations. The group had split into two groups a year ago, one of which now belongs to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and the other abides by Daesh law dictated by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Sheikh Ibrahim said.

Sheikh Ibrahim also told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that members of Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, had never displayed ardent belief to their adopted ideology. Some of which later trailed behind al-Qaeda, others behind Daesh and others simply claimed the whole group, he said.

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis had adopted attacks which targeted the Egyptian army and slaughtered civilians. Over 12 tribal leaders were killed in the Sinai Peninsula, Sheikh Ibrahim added.

By Abdul Sattar Hatita


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