In a statement released to jihadist forums on Jan. 25, the Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) said its fighters fired a surface-to-air missile (SAM) at an Egyptian helicopter operating in North Sinai. The group later released video showing the attack. Hours before Ansar Jerusalem released its statement, Egypt’s army spokesman had confirmed on his official Facebook page that an army helicopter operating in North Sinai had crashed around noon.
In the statement, Ansar Jerusalem also claimed responsibility for a number of other attacks over the past couple of days in the Sinai, including the targeting of a security forces camp with mortars, the targeting of troops near an airport, and a sniper attack on a soldier. Notably, the group also appeared to slightly back off its original claims of responsibility for a couple of the smaller attacks in the Cairo area on Jan. 24.
According to the Ansar Jerusalem, Ajnad Misr, a group that appears to have announced itself on Jan. 23, was operating in the same area at the time as Ansar Jerusalem fighters and there was “confusion” over who exactly was responsible. In the statement, Ajnad Misr was described as “our brothers” by Ansar Jerusalem. At a minimum, the statement suggests that Ansar Jerusalem knows of Ajnad Misr, and possibly even has ties to it. […]