JERUSALEM – An Egyptian Islamist terrorist organization founded by the Muslim Brotherhood is re-establishing itself amid the political upheaval in Cairo, WND has learned.
Both Egyptian and Israeli security officials said the group, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, is being reconstituted at the direction of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The officials affirmed Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya serves as the de facto “military” wing of the Brotherhood, which originally founded Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya.
Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya is suspected of involvement in the 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and it took credit for the 1995 attempted killing of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. It has carried out scores of deadly terrorist attacks, some targeting foreign tourists.
The Muslim Brotherhood seeks to spread Islam around the world. Hamas and al-Qaida are violent Brotherhood offshoots.
While the Brotherhood claimed it abandoned violence to push for a peaceful takeover of Egypt, the group’s new spiritual leader, Muhammad Badi, recently has publicly called for violent jihad, including against the U.S.
Yesterday, an Egyptian security official was quoted in the news media stating Egyptian troops had arrested two armed Palestinians from Hamas who entered the country illegally from the Gaza Strip.
The security official told reporters the men had crossed from Gaza into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula using smuggling tunnels and that they were arrested in a stolen car in the town of el-Arish, near the border, along with three Egyptian smugglers.
The official told the Associated Press the two Hamas men were caught with weapons, hand grenades, two RPGs and about $8,600 in cash.
A senior Egyptian security official speaking to WND yesterday said an investigation found the two Hamas men were aiding in the reorganization of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, which, he said, is attempting to reconstitute itself under the direction of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Egyptian security official said Hamas is helping Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya organize into divisions and to arm itself with weapons currently in the Sinai waiting to be smuggled into Gaza.
Both Israel and Egypt say Hamas has amassed a large quantity of weapons in the Sinai Pinunsula, where the Islamist group has been attempting to smuggle the weaponry into Gaza.
Now, the Egyptian security official said, some of those weapons are going to arm the reconstituted Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya.
Notorious terrorist attacks
Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, and is classified as a terrorist group by the U.S., European Union and Egypt. Like the Muslim Brotherhood, the group is dedicated to the overthrow of Mubarak, seeking to replace his regime with an Islamic state.
The group has carried out numerous deadly attacks.
Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya may have been involved indirectly in Sadat’s assassination. The group’s leader has talked publicly about collaborating in planning the murder with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was blamed for the killing.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya carried out scores of terrorist acts in Egypt, including the murders and attempted murders of prominent Egyptian writers and intellectuals. The group also targeted tourists and foreigners.
In 1997, it carried out the notorious Luxor massacre in Luxor, Egypt, killing 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians. Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya went on a shooting rampage in that attack, even reportedly mutilating the bodies of victims. A note praising Islam was found inside one disemboweled body.
One year earlier, in 1996, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya carried out a shooting rampage at the Europa Hotel in Cairo, killing 18 Greek tourists.
In 1995, the group took responsibility for a car bomb attack on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, murdering 16 people.
After a massive Egyptian crackdown on the group in 1997 following the Luxor attack, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya brokered a deal with the Egyptian government that is known as the Nonviolence Initiative, in which some leaders of the movement said they renounced violence.
Still, exiled leaders of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya maintained the group would not give up its violence.
Brotherhood declares war on U.S.
Multiple prominent U.S. commentators also have been claiming the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate organization and denying any Islamist plot to seize power.
In November, the Brotherhood’s new supreme guide, Muhammad Badi, delivered a sermon entitled, “How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny.”
“Resistance is the only solution,” stated Badi. “The United States cannot impose an agreement upon the Palestinians, despite all the power at its disposal. [Today] it is withdrawing from Iraq, defeated and wounded, and is also on the verge of withdrawing from Afghanistan because it has been defeated by Islamist warriors.”
Badi went on to declare the U.S. is easy to defeat through violence, since it is “experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading toward its demise.”
U.S. tacitly supports Brotherhood talks
The information comes after the U.S. tacitly approved the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in political dialogue in Egypt.
“Today we learned the Muslim Brotherhood decided to participate, which suggests they at least are now involved in the dialogue that we have encouraged,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an NPR interview this past weekend from Germany.
“We’re going to wait and see how this develops, but we’ve been very clear about what we expect.”
“The Egyptian people are looking for an orderly transition that can lead to free and fair elections. That is what the United States has consistently supported,” Clinton said in Munich, referring to elections in which the Muslim Brotherhood is expected to take large gains.
“The people themselves, and leaders of various groups … will ultimately determine if it is or not meeting their needs.”
She added: “I want to make very clear we have set forth the principles we support. We are adamant about no violence … . And we want to see an orderly, expeditious transition.”
Obama yesterday told reporters that talks to resolve Egypt’s crisis are making progress amid negotiations between Mubarak and the opposition, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Obviously, Egypt has to negotiate a path and they’re making progress,” Obama told reporters.
Meanwhile, in Israel yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Egypt could fall into the hands of Islamists as a result of the country’s uprising.
“Egyptians can choose a state with secular reforms. However, there is also another possibility that the Islamists will exploit the situation in order to gain governance over the country and lead it backward,” Netanyahu said.
“The third possibility is that [Egypt] will go in the direction of Iran,” Netanyahu said, adding a new Egyptian leadership may “oppress the country and threaten all those surrounding it.”