Egyptian Militant Group Joins Al Qaeda
Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader announced in a new videotape aired Saturday that an Egyptian militant group has joined the terrorist network.
It is the first time that Al Qaeda has announced a branch in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation. The Egyptian group, Gamaa al Islamiya, is apparently a revived version of a militant group of the same name that waged a campaign of violence in Egypt during the 1990s but was crushed in a government crackdown.
“We announce to the Islamic nation the good news of the unification of a great faction of the knights of the Gamaa Islamiya
Zawahiri said the Egyptian group was led by Mohammed Islambouli, brother of Khaled Islambouli, the militant who assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and was later executed.
The video included a statement by Mohammed Hakayma, identified as another top leader of the revived Gamaa.
Mohammed Islambouli left Egypt in the mid-1980s and was believed to have been in Afghanistan working with Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, said Diaa Rashwan, an Egyptian expert on militant groups.
It was not clear how much of a following the new version of Gamaa al Islamiya has in Egypt.
Egypt has seen a string of terrorist bombings against tourist resorts in the Sinai peninsula since October 2004, killing nearly 100 people. Egyptian authorities have said those attacks were carried out by a group calling itself Monotheism and Jihad.