Extremist groups in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt have caused suffering among the local population. This family recounts the crimes of extremist groups there.
ISIL – Sinai, the branch of ISIL that has been active in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, has targeted several individuals and groups over the years, causing local residents untold pain.
One such individuals to have been killed by ISIL – Sinai was Haj Sami al-Kashef, who was murdered in broad daylight as he left Friday prayers in August 2018 in the town of al-Erish. His relative described how he was killed:
“They attacked him, shot him in the head and chest, and then he fell to the ground. Haj Sami died as a hero, lived as a hero, and will remain a hero”.
She goes on to praise the killing of former ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi:
“We got rid of Baghdadi and we hope that Sinai will return as it once was. We were very happy when we heard about Baghdadi’s death and we hope that all terrorists will be eliminated so that security and safety can return to the country.”
Another prominent victim of of the group’s terrorist attacks was Sheikh Sulaiman Abu Haraz, a 100-year-old Sufi figure and respected elder from al-Erish. He was executed by the group in 2016. The group has also targeted minority groups such as the Copts in Egypt.
ISIL – Sinai has existed as a branch of ISIL since 2014, however the group was formerly called Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, before declaring allegiance to ISIL. Ansar Bait al-Maqdis initiated its terrorist activities in 2011 in the Sinai Peninsula and had been designated as a terrorist organisation by Egypt, as well as the UK and the US.
The Egyptian Army has been pursuing the terrorist group since the toppling of Muhammad Morsi from the Presidency in 2013. Hundreds of ISIL – Sinai members have been killed by the military operations. The group has recently pledged allegiance to the new leader of ISIL following the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.