Ansar Beit al-Maqdes calls on soldiers to defect

In an audio recording released by the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdes Thursday, a spokesperson called on Egypt’s security forces to take their government-supplied arms and turn on their superiors, or face the consequences.

“Soldiers, know that you are what gives your leaders strength and a mandate,” said the audio recording.

“Repent and save yourselves. If you can escape with your weapon then do that. Otherwise, you know that soldiers are dealt with as one bloc. We will target you as we target your leaders. And you saw what has been happening in security directorates, buses carrying troops, checkpoints…and what is coming is going to be much worse and bitter.”

A few hours later, a car bomb exploded early Friday morning outside the Cairo Security Directorate, killing four. It was the first car-bomb attack in Cairo since a failed assassination attempt on Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim’s motorcade in early September.

Security forces arrested one ex-naval intelligence officer in connection with that attack. Another message posed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdes claimed the suicide bomber that attacked the motorcade was another former officer, Walid Badr.

Contrary to Egyptian private media reports, the recording was not a claim of responsibility.

David Barnett, a US-based research analyst with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a conservative think-tank that monitors the group, wrote in an email that the recording was “100 percent authentic.”

“Recall, that prior to Mansoura attack, ABM had released a statement calling of security personnel to leave their posts or only have themselves to blame,” Barnett wrote.

The person in the recording, Usama Abu al-Masry, has not appeared in previous statements or audio recordings by the group, he added.

“To the soldiers and officers, know that we did not start the fight. Your leaders drove this to you, and you were a willing aid. We didn’t start,” Masry says.

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