Intelligence gathered by Egypt and Israel attest to the former Ansar Bait al-Maqdis — now reborn as the Islamic State’s operational arm in Sinai — being well into advanced preparations for a large-scale terrorist offensive targeting Israel forces manning the Egyptian frontier, along with a string of Egyptian targets across Sinai up to and including the Suez Canal and Cairo.
According to DEBKAfile’s counter-terrorism sources, the Islamist group was so elated by the outcome of its multiple attacks on Jan. 29, which left at least 40 Egyptian soldiers dead and more than 100 injured in Sinai and Suez towns, that it is determined to keep going.
Using different types of rockets, including Grads, as well as mortars and car bombs, terrorist squads then broke into military bases in four cities in Sinai and two on the Suez Canal and set them on fire. Others killed all the personnel aboard military and police convoys before putting them to the torch.
The ISIS Sinai arm is planning to target Israeli forces with a similar type of multiple offensive. Appropriate precautions for fending off this attack are in place.
Cairo banned Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, as a terrorist organization in the wake of the support the Palestinian extremists extended to ISIS for this wholesale assault, supplying the terrorists with rockets and intelligence.
In addition to Hamas, DEBKA’s sources report that Ansar Bait al-Maqdis has entered into operational collaboration with a newly-established Egyptian Islamist group, which calls itself “Agnad Misr” — Soldiers of Egypt. This group first broke surface on Jan. 24 with a communiquÃ© bearing the motto “Retribution is Life.” It turns out to be made up of Salafi extremists mixed with former members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, one of the forerunners of the original Al Qaeda. Its terror agenda focuses on Cairo and its environs.