The Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdes announced it is joining the Islamic State and pledged its allegiance to its caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an audio statement Monday.
In accordance with Allah’s and the Prophet’s orders to unite, the statement said, “we pledge allegiance to Caliph Bin Awad Bin Ibrahim Qorashi al-Hussainy,” referring to Baghdadi.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdes also called on Egyptians to pledge their allegiances as well.
“What are you waiting for after the violation of your honor and the bloodshed of your sons on the hands of this tyrant and his soldiers?” the statement said, “When will you sharpen your swords in the face of your enemies?”
“Or have you accepted humiliation and shame?” it continued.
The nine-minute recording also cited decades of the subjection of Muslims to demise and injustice by Jews and their allies.
“But Allah allowed for the jihadi flag to be raised on our land and we were chosen to fight his enemies,” it said.
“We thank Allah who allowed for the establishment of an Islamic State to unite Muslims and their word and restore their dignity and pride that was lost for decades.”
Ansar Beit al-Maqdes has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Sinai on police and military personnel. The group also claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile attacks on public figures and offices, including an assassination attempt on the interior minister in September 2013 and an attack on the Cairo Security Directorate in January 2014.
The Egyptian government has been cracking down on North Sinai in recent weeks, after 33 soldiers were killed in an attack on the Karm al-Qawadees checkpoint near Rafah on October 24.
Last week, there were conflicting reports surrounding the group’s allegiance to the Islamic State. While Reuters reported that they received a statement from the militant group announcing they are joining IS, the allegedly official Twitter account for the group denied any association with the Islamic State and said the media reports were false.
This Twitter account was however later taken down.