ANSAR AL-ISLAM جماعة أنصار الإسلام
Location: Ansar al-Islam has officially claimed only one attack in Bahariya Oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert.
Characteristics: Very little is known about Ansar al-Islam other than its ideological alignment with al-Qaeda and possible connection to Hisham Ashmawy and al-Morabitoon.
Recent leadership: Emad al-Din Ahmed Mahmoud Abdel Hameed (also known by his nom de guerre as Mostafa) was killed during a security operation west of Fayoum on October 31, 2017. Emad al-Din was described in Ansar al-Islam’s statement on the attack in Bahariya as a “leader” and “hero,” but his position in the organization was not specified.
Background: In a statement released on November 3, 2017, through a Telegram channel affiliated with al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam claimed responsibility for the October 20 attack on security forces in the Bahariya Oasis, which killed at least 16 security personnel, according to numbers released by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior.
Ideology: Ansar al-Islam is ideologically aligned with al-Qaeda and may be connected to Hisham Ashmawy, founder of al-Morabitoon, an al-Qaeda affiliate believed to be based in Derna, Libya. Emad al-Din Ahmed Mahmoud Abdel Hameed, who was listed as killed during the aforementioned security operation, has known ties to Ashmawy and is described by some sources as Ashmawy’s deputy).
Notable Attacks: Ansar al-Islam claimed responsibility for the October 20, 2017, attack (which it dubbed Battle of the Lions’ Den) on Egyptian security personnel in the Bahariya Oasis, in Egypt’s Western Desert, issuing a statement on its involvement two weeks after the incident. The statement claimed that militants attacked three armored vehicles and five police trucks. According to numbers released by the Ministry of Interior, at least 16 security personnel, many of them high-ranking officers, were killed in the attack, though other reports put these numbers as high as 50 or more. A police captain was kidnapped during the assault but was later freed during a security raid west of Fayoum that resulted in the death of Emad al-Din Ahmed Mahmoud Abdel Hameed.