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ISIS Supporters Fabricate Christian Claim Of Responsibility For Sinai Mosque Attack, Then Threaten Retaliation Against Christians In Egypt

In recent days, Islamic State (ISIS) supporters have renewed their threats against Egypt's Christians, vowing attacks during the upcoming holiday season, and using a new pretext – the allegation that a Christian group was behind the deadly attack on the mosque in the village of Al-Rawdah in northern Sinai a few weeks ago. More than 300 people were killed in the attack, responsibility for which has not been claimed by any group. ISIS itself has been silent about the attack, while groups associated with Al-Qaeda have condemned it.  

On December 2, 2017, a Telegram channel under the name "The Sons of Jesus Movement" was opened. The channel posted a statement signed by the group claiming responsibility for the November 24 attack on the mosque in Al-Rawdah, saying it was a revenge operation carried out by the group in response to attacks against Christians. It promised to provide photographic evidence from the Al-Rawdah attack at an appropriate time. However, no evidence of the existence of such a group can be found from any other source. Furthermore, the statement was apparently first disseminated by ISIS supporters. The statement seems, therefore, to be a crude fabrication by ISIS supporters in an attempt to deflect blame for the horrific attack on the mosque.[1]

 
The "Sons of Jesus" statement shared by an ISIS media operative who calls himself Kara Mustafa, with the caption "The Christians' war?"[2]

Pro-ISIS channels on Telegram were quick to take advantage of the alleged "Sons of Jesus" statement. On December 5, 2017, a Telegram channel associated with ISIS's Egypt Province posted a message threatening Christians in Egypt with revenge. The message, signed by Salah Al-Din Al-Fateh, reads:[3]

"A black holiday upon you, oh Christians of Egypt, and upon whoever brought you. With Allah's permission, we will take revenge on you, and for the actions of your patrons – the bombing, shelling and destruction of homes and mosques on the heads of innocent subjects of the rule of the caliphate. By announcing your responsibility for the attack on the mosque of Al-Rawdah you opened on yourselves the gates of hell. Even if your announcement is fake, it came at an appropriate time. In any case we are ordered to lie in wait for you, as you lie in wait for us. However, the reward goes to he who believes in Allah alone and wages jihad for the sake of raising His word and His law.

With Allah's permission, security, individual and military operations will continue to land on your heads in your impure churches and in your filthy houses of worship. From now on, you will not even feel secure in your own homes, until security is the reality for Muslims feel in our lands of Egypt and Sinai in accordance with our glorious faith, without having tyrants or criminal infidels deprive us of it. With Allah's permission, you will come subdued and humbled to hand us the jizyah [poll tax for Christians and Jews]. The feeble tyrant's army, which is afraid even of its own shadow, will not be of help to you..."


Threat posted by Salah Al-Din Al-Fateh

This post was preceded by a similar threat made on December 4, 2017, on another Telegram channel of linked to the ISIS's "Egypt Province," wherein Egyptian Muslims were urged to attack Christians in their country.[4] The post reads:

"Oh you Muslims in Egypt, the Christians have been insolent towards you. They cursed our prophet and called each other to fight you, and you are sitting! Oh you, have you forgotten who you are? Do you not know that you are their masters and they are the ones [who should be] humbled and subdued[5]? By Allah... if you do not rise up [against them] Allah will increase your humility. So go forth, oh worshippers of Allah, blow up their churches and monasteries, kill their priests and monks, do not show mercy towards any Christian for they are all belligerent towards Allah's religion. 'They will never approve of you until you follow their religion.'[6] So blood for blood, killing for killing. Revive the raids of heroes in Abassiyah, Tanta and Alexandria[7] until they know who the Muslims are."

 

[1] Telegram.me/Abnaa_Yasoo3, December 2, 2017.

[2] Telegram.me/karamos, December 2, 2017. For more on this operative, see JTTM report: Egyptian ISIS Operative Recruits Fighters, Instructs ISIS Supporters On Facebook And Other Social Media, September 28, 2017.

[3] Telegram.me/Wilayat Misr Al-Khilafa, December 5, 2017.

[4] Telegram.me/Misr Al-Kinana, December 4, 2017.

[5] According to Quran 9, 29, which stipulates that Muslims must fight the Jews and Christians until they pay a poll tax while being subdued: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

[6] Quran 2, 120.

[7] Referring to bombings by ISIS of a church in the Abbassiyah district in Cairo in December 2016 and of churches Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday in April 2017.