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Jund al-Islam

Jund al-Islam | جند الإسلام

Jund al islam

Location: Jund al-Islam has claimed at least two attacks in North Sinai. It is unclear whether the group has had a presence outside the Sinai Peninsula.

Characteristics: In its first attack, the group employed rocket-propelled grenades and two vehicles loaded with explosives. Currently, little is known about the group.

Recent leadership: Unknown

Background: Jund al-Islam was widely unknown before 2011. However, reports indicate that Jund al-Islam conducted a military show on the day of Osama bin Laden’s death in May of that year. Two years later, on September 11, 2013, Jund al-Islam reportedly claimed a large attack on a military intelligence facility in Rafah.

Jund al-Islam had no other known activity until October 2017. On November 11, the group released a recorded statement claiming responsibility for an attack in North Sinai a month before. That attack targeted members of Wilayat Sinai, whom Jund al-Islam branded “apostates.” The voice recording called on members of Wilayat Sinai to “leave the group and stop killing Muslims.” Following a Wilayat Sinai-claimed attack on truck drivers carried out days later, Jund al-Islam released a statement condemning the attack.

Ideology: In Jund al-Islam’s first claim of responsibility, the group denounced the Egyptian military as traitors to Islam and held them responsible for crimes committed in the interest of “the Jews.” Although this statement was, at that time, the only official Jund al-Islam proclamation, the timing of the aforementioned military show and the attack on the intelligence facility suggested loyalty to al-Qaeda.

Jund al-Islam’s recent statements express the group’s vitriol for members of the Islamic State, mirroring regional hostility between groups aligned with al-Qaeda and those aligned with the Islamic State. In an audio recording released on November 11, 2017, the group said of Wilayat Sinai: “The [Abu Bakr al-] Baghdadi-led khawarij [a derogatory term for rebels or dissidents] were irrefutably proven to have repeatedly assaulted Muslims in Sinai and laid siege to Gaza. A group of them were found infiltrating the camps of your Jund al-Islam brothers more than once, carrying small arms and lights weapons, with the intention of attacking them.”

Notable Attacks: In its first claimed activity, carried out on September 11, 2013, a suicide bomber affiliated with Jund al-Islam targeted a two-story building in Rafah that housed a local branch of Egyptian Air Force intelligence, completely collapsing the structure. A second suicide bomber hit a military checkpoint in Rafah that same day. Together, the incidents claimed nine lives and injured 17 more, including seven civilians.

More than four years later, on November 11, 2017, Jund al-Islam claimed responsibility for an attack targeting an armored vehicle that belonged to Wilayat Sinai. In the audio recording, Jund al-Islam stated that the operation (which was actually carried out a month before the claim was made) was intended to lead to the capture of members of Wilayat Sinai. Four members of Wilayat Sinai were reportedly killed during the operation, along with two members of Jund al-Islam.