Ansar Bait al-Maqdis “أَنْصَارُ بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِس Supporters of the Holy House, Al Quds”), or Ansar Al-Quds (“Supporters of Jerusalem”), was the name of a jihadist extremist militant group based in Egypt.
From 2011 to 2013, Ansar Bait al-Maqdis operated in the Sinai Peninsula, focused its efforts on Egypt and the gas pipeline to Jordan, with a handful attacks directed towards Israel. In mid-2013, it began a campaign of attacks on Egyptian security forces, and in November 2014 the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Most of the group became a branch of ISIL, renaming itself ISIL-Sinai Province.
Ansar Bait al-Maqdis emerged from a number of indigenous Salafi jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula. Some of these groups had ties to Salafi jihadis in Gaza or leaders that had previously fought abroad, including with al-Qaeda.
The group rose from the chaos in Sinai that began with the uprising in January 2011. Its operations increased in the wake of the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état, shifting its main target from Israel to the Egyptian security forces, declaring the Egyptian army and police apostates that can be killed.
The group was believed to have been the main group behind the militant activity in the Sinai. From September 2013 to late January 2014, the group claimed responsibility for a rapid succession of mass scale attacks throughout Egypt, including the attempted assassination of the Egyptian interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim. The group recruited Bedouins as well as other Egyptians and people of other nationalities. Ten leaders from the group were reported to have escaped from the Sinai to Gaza and Marsa Matrouh in late 2013.
During 2014, the group sent emissaries to ISIL in Syria to seek financial support, weapons and tactical advice. On 10 November 2014, many members of the group took an oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL. Following this pledge, ISIL supporters within the group formed an official branch of ISIL in the region, known as Wilayat Sinai, the Sinai Province of the Islamic State.
Designation as a terrorist organisation
The group has been designated as a terrorist organisation by Egypt, the UAE, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
ABM is an Al Qa’ida inspired militant Islamist group based in the northern Sinai region of Egypt. The group is said to recruit within Egypt and abroad and aims to create an Egyptian state ruled by Sharia law. ABM is assessed to be responsible for a number of attacks on security forces in Egypt since 2011. The attacks appear to have increased since the overthrow of the Morsi government in July 2013. The group’s reach goes beyond the Sinai, with the group claiming responsibility for a number of attacks in Cairo and cross-border attacks against Israel. ABM has undertaken attacks using vehicle borne improvised explosive devices and surface-to-air missiles.