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National Interest: Can Egypt Handle Ansar Bayt al Maqdis?

Author: David Barnett
January 26, 2014

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"The Egyptian government blamed its bitter political rivals, the Muslim Brotherhood, for the Mansoura attack, despite ABM's claim of responsibility…. With significant support for their actions against the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian government may not even care if ABM takes credit. With crowds calling for the Muslim Brotherhood's 'execution' after Friday's attack, to some respect it makes sense politically for the government to blame supporters of fallen Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, who continue to partake in efforts to delegitimize the new regime. This is why Cairo, which believes it is in an existential battle, declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization shortly after the Mansoura bombing."

Shortly after 6:30am in Egypt on Friday, a massive car bomb detonated outside the Cairo Security Directorate. The attack killed at least four people and wounded more than 70, Egypt's Health Ministry said. In the hours that followed at least three additional explosions were reported in the Cairo area with reports of two more fatalities and scores wounded.

In the immediate aftermath of the first attack, some Egypt observers, myself included, said the car bombing was likely the work of the Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Bayt al Maqdis (ABM). In a statement released to jihadist forums Friday night, ABM claimed responsibility for all of the attacks. While some may question the veracity of the claim, a couple data points support the idea that ABM was in fact responsible for attacks that appeared to leave Egyptian authorities chasing ghosts.

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