Ansar Jerusalem

Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) is a Salafi jihadist group that operates in the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula and has claimed credit for a number of attacks against Israel and Egypt over the past two years. Ansar Jerusalem started its operations in Sinai following the uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign on 11 February 2011 and when Palestinian militants joined the Sinai based Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad (Monotheism and Jihad) group and formed Ansar Jerusalem. The group consists primarily of local Bedouins, but also recruits members in Egypt and beyond. According to its statement, Ansar Jerusalem wants "to liberate our Ummah and Muslim people from the slavery of the oppressive, apostate regimes, and establish justice, dignity and freedom for them, and that is only through servitude to Allah alone and implementing His proper Shariah." It argued that "an army of Muslims that helps the Ummah and the religion is the way to liberate Jerusalem and the rest of Muslim lands and live in freedom, dignity and honor under the shade of the Shariah of the Lord of the Worlds." On 09 April 2014, the US State Department added Ansar Jerusalem to its lists of designated terrorist organisations. On 14 April 2014, the Egyptian Court for Urgent Matters officially labeled Ansar Jerusalem a terrorist organisation.

Centre of Operations

The group, founded in 2011, initially focussed attacks in northern Sinai. Since July 2013, when the military deposed former  President Mohamed Morsi followed by security operations in Sinai, that killed approximately 1000 people, Ansar Jerusalem has redirected its focus to include security forces and police officials in Egypt's mainland, inclusive of Cairo. Ansar Jerusalem's intent to maintain an Egyptian focus in the execution of its operations is evident in its refusal to merge with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a group with a transnational objective and areas of operations. Ansar Jerusalem is reported to rely on two branches, namely one in Gaza and the other in Sinai.

Association with al-Qaeda

Conclusive evidence of Ansar Jerusalem being an official affiliate to al-Qaeda remains wanting.  The only reported links relate to Ansar Jerusalem funding and training. According to, Nabil Naeim, former militant and founder of the Islamic Jihad in Egypt, Ansar Jerusalem is funded by the Muslim Brotherhood through a deal with the Brotherhood’s Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater that was mediated by Mohammad al-Zawahiri, the brother of the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Furthermore, it is speculated that Ansar Jerusalem and al-Qaeda members are being trained together as well as being training under the al-Qaeda banner, as showed in video releases by the group.  

Association with Muslim Brotherhood

Ansar Jerusalem association with the Muslim Brotherhood is seen at a retaliation rather than execution level, whereby the Egyptian Government's actions against the Muslim Brotherhood serve as justification for attacks. Egyptian officials often refer to Ansar Jerusalemas the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the latter accused of supplying the group with weapons through Libya and Gaza tunnels. These statements rely on accusations that Ansar Jerusalem does have former members of the Muslim Brotherhood within its ranks. However, these members left the Brotherhood due to accusations that the organisation is not fully committed to an offensive jihad.

Association with Jamal Network (MJN)

Egyptian media reports claimed that Ansar Jerusalem have links with the Jamal Network (MJN), a group which was added to the US government's list of designated terrorists and the UN's sanctions list during October 2013. According to the reports MJN, who stands accused of being involved in the 11 September 2012 Benghazi terror attack in Libya, has established several training camps in Egypt and Libya with funding from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). During August 2013, Ansar Jerusalem was praised by an AQAP official as "our mujahedeen brothers in Sinai."

Video

Video: 2012 A security fence is rapidly being constructed, but terrorists have still managed to carry out 2 major attacks on Israeli targets this year and now they've succeeded in carrying out a third. A group of Israeli soldiers were ambushed as they brought water to African migrants who had been stopped from illegally crossing into Israel.  Ansar Jerusalem - an Al-Qaeda inspired terrorist group in the Sinai - has claimed responsibility online for the cross border attack. Linking the ambush to the Anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims," the terrorist group called the incident a disciplinary attack against those who insulted the beloved prophet Muhammad.

Ansar Jerusalem, also known as Supporters of the Holy Places, Jihadist Jerusalem, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Partisans of the Holy Temple is an active group formed c. 2012.

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