WASHINGTON: A new Islamist group in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula has vowed attacks on the military government in Cairo and US targets, according to a statement posted on a militant forum.
The group, calling itself Ansar Al-Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula, pledged to "do our best to fight the corrupt (Egyptian) regime and its henchmen among the Jews, the Americans and those around them," according to a translation of the statement by the US-based SITE Intelligence Group.
The statement spoke of "a fierce war against Islam" and of the "theft" of Egypt’s natural resources, which it said were being sold to Israel, referring to a controversial natural gas deal between the two countries.
The group complained about the Egyptian government’s treatment of individuals who bombed the gas pipeline and the killing of one suspect during an outbreak of violence along the Egypt-Israel border in August.
It went on to quote Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden’s vow that the United States would not enjoy security as long as Palestinians did not.
It was not immediately possible to confirm the statement or the existence of the group.
Egypt’s rugged Sinai was hit by a string of bombings targeting tourist resorts from 2004 to 2006 that killed more than 100 people.
The worst was claimed by a group calling itself Al-Tawhid wal Jihad. It had also pledged allegiance to bin Laden, who was killed earlier this year in a US commando raid in Pakistan.
The Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan has been attacked 10 times since the fall of longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in February.