A security official said Sunday it is unclear whether the recently released beading videos took place in Egypt, adding that security forces are still investigating the issue.
Aswat Masriya reported that two beheaded bodies were found in Sinai on Sunday morning. This latest case brings the total number of beheaded bodies found over the past week to six.
Upon two requests for confirmation on Sunday’s beheading reports, the Ministry of Interior said they had “no information”, and commented that they are still “researching”.
“The security apparatus is looking into the video, and researching the incident. They are researching whether it was in Egypt or not,” a security official in spokesperson Hany Abdel-Latif’s office said Sunday.
The Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (ABM) claimed to have beheaded four men whom they say worked with Israeli intelligence in a video statement on Thursday. The four headless corpses were found in Sinai earlier this month.
In their video, ABM showed nine masked men standing, one of whom was reading the statement while the rest were armed. The group had four other men, whom they accused of collaborating with the Mossad, kneeling on the ground in front of them. After interrogating the four men, the group cuts off their heads.
Zack Gold, an adjunct fellow with the American Security Project said ABM has, since December, been targeting individuals whom they see as “collaborators” with the Egyptian security apparatus or Israel. Gold said that he does not see a clear link between ISIS, the extremist Al-Qaeda offshoot that controls parts of Iraq and Syria, and ABM.
“There may be a link in the sense that they are inspired by ISIS, and in terms of ideology, but there is no operational link,” Gold said.
Gold added that he sees a continuation of ABM’s operations in the near-future, and the “return of the security state of Mubarak” in how Egyptian security is dealing with the phenomenon.
Their methods of countering the ABM threat in the mainland was good, but that their tactics in Sinai are “unsustainable”, Gold said.
He added that the military has been dealing with “security methods only, and not through addressing the needs and concerns of the local [Sinai] population”, which he says makes the population more “disgruntled”.
Military expert Mohamed Saied also said he expects the beheadings phenomena to increase in the near-future.
“If you look back at the past six months, you will see that these people had a lot of plans and even the military and the police could not stop them,” Saied said. “We have to begin strong campaigns to decrease the frequency of these operations.”
ABM is based in Sinai but claimed to have carried out operations in Cairo and other areas of Egypt. Their operations include an assassination attempt on Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim in September 2013, and bombings of the security infrastructure.
They have not claimed responsibility for anything outside Sinai over the past seven months.
According to Gold, the group is made up primarily of people from Sinai, and some from the Nile Delta who have made their way to the peninsula. He also estimates that the group is made up of 60 to 100 people, adding that the group’s size has been diminishing over the past months.