CAIRO (AP) – Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a militant organisation based in the Sinai Peninsula that has carried out several attacks targeting Egyptian security forces, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
The announcement reflects the growing regional appeal of the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda breakaway group that has carved out a self-styled caliphate in Syria and Iraq and demanded the loyalty of the world’s Muslims.
The announcement pledging loyalty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi came in an audio speech posted late Sunday on the Egyptian militant group’s official Twitter account and a militant website.
Last week the group had used the same Twitter account to deny reports saying it had pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi.
The unknown speaker in the recording released Sunday says Ansar Beit al-Maqdis decided to join the Islamic State group, “whose emergence resembles a new dawn raising the banner of monotheism.”
The speaker said al-Baghdadi was “chosen by God” to establish a new caliphate after “Muslims suffered decades of humiliation”.
“Therefore, we have no alternative but to declare our pledge of allegiance to the caliph… to listen and obey him… and we call on all Muslims to pledge allegiance to him.”
The speaker went on to urge Egyptians to rise up against what he called “the tyrant,” apparently referring to President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who was elected earlier this year after leading the military overthrow of President Mohammed Mursi in July 2013 amid massive protests demanding his resignation.