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Egyptian Islamic Jihad

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Title: Egyptian Islamic Jihad  
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Subject: Al-Qaeda, Terrorism in Egypt, 1998 United States embassy bombings, Assassination of Anwar Sadat, Hassan Farhat
Collection: Designated Terrorist Organizations Associated with Islam, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, European Union Designated Terrorist Organizations, Government of Canada Designated Terrorist Organizations, Government of Egypt Designated Terrorist Organizations, Groups Affiliated with Al-Qaeda, Islamism in Egypt, Jihadist Groups, Jihadist Organizations, Organizations Affiliated with Al-Qaeda, Organizations Designated as Terrorist by the United States Government, Organizations Designated as Terrorist in Africa, Sunni Islamist Groups, United Kingdom Home Office Designated Terrorist Groups
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Egyptian Islamic Jihad

The Egyptian Islamic Jihad (

Further reading

  1. ^ Global Briefings, Issue 27, September 1998, “Osama Bin Laden tied to other fundamentalists”.
  2. ^ Wright, Lawrence, Looming Tower, Knopf, 2006, p.123
  3. ^ a b The Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, United Nations Security Council Committee 1267
  4. ^ ‘Terror’ list out; Russia tags two Kuwaiti groups], Arab Times, February 2003
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, p.134
  8. ^ a b Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon. "The Age of Sacred Terror", 2002
  9. ^ al-Zayat, Montasser, "The Road to al-Qaeda", 2002
  10. ^ Murphy, Caryle, Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience, Simon and Schuster, 2002, p.67
  11. ^ Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, p.147
  12. ^ Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, NY, Knopf, 2006, p.122
  13. ^ Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright, NY, Knopf, 2006, p.124
  14. ^ 1988 visit to Lion's Den, in Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright, NY, Knopf, 2006, p.129
  15. ^ Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright, NY, Knopf, 2006, p.130
  16. ^ Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright, NY, Knopf, 2006, p.107-8
  17. ^ Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, p.148
  18. ^ Wright, Looming Tower, (2002), p.184-5
  19. ^ Mickolus, Edward F. "Terrorism: 1992-1995: A Chronology of Events", p. 468
  20. ^ Reuters, "Egypt rounds up 20 militants in bombing", August 20, 1993
  21. ^ Wright, Looming Tower, (2002), p.186
  22. ^ Wright, Lawrence, Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Lawrence Wright, NY, Knopf, 2006, p.186
  23. ^ Wright, Looming Towers (2006), p.185
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ a b c Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, p.45
  27. ^ a b Wright, Looming Towers, 2006, p.213-215
  28. ^
  29. ^ Wright, Looming Towers, 2006, p.216
  30. ^ Wright, Looming Towers, 2006, p.216, 220
  31. ^ Wright, Looming Towers, 2006, p.220
  32. ^ Wright, Looming Towers, 2006, p.222-3
  33. ^ Wright, Looming Towers, 2006, p.336
  34. ^ Le Figaro, "CIA said hunting Bin Laden group in Tirana", September 30, 1998
  35. ^ Wright, Looming Towers, 2006, p.259
  36. ^ Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Summary of the Security Intelligence Report concerning Mahmoud Jaballah, 22 February 2008. Appendix A.
  37. ^ Wright, Looming Towers, 2006, p.260-1
  38. ^ Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, p.63
  39. ^ Wright, Looming Tower, (2006), p.336
  40. ^
  41. ^ SDN and SDGT list, US Department of the Treasury
  42. ^ Sageman,Understanding Terror Networks, (2004), p.63
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^


See also

Unlike other militant counterparts, EIJ was noted for condemning only the government as apostate, and seeking to recruit soldiers, reporters and government workers who were untainted by jahiliyya.[8] Iraq agreed in March 1993 to renew relations with the group.[45]

The extent of its aid from outside of Egypt is not known. The Egyptian Government claimed that both Iran and Osama bin Laden support the Islamic Jihad. It also may obtain some funding through various Islamic nongovernmental organizations, cover businesses, and criminal acts.

External Aid

The modern al-Qaeda organization is the combination of bin Laden's financial resources with al-Zawahiri's ideological and operational leadership.

The al-Zawahiri faction subsequently formed an alliance with al-Qaeda leading over time to the effective merger of the two groups operations inside Afghanistan. Even though al-Zawahiri is frequently referred to as a 'lieutenant' or 'second in command' of al-Qaeda this description is misleading as it implies a hierarchical relationship.

Although Ayman al-Zawahiri was "the one in front", Al-Sharif was the actual leader.[43] Nabil Na'eem was the leader of the group from 1988 until 1992.[44]


The organization specializes in armed attacks against high-level Egyptian Government personnel, including cabinet ministers, and car-bombings against official US and Egyptian facilities. The original Jihad was responsible for the attempted assassinations of Interior Minister Hassan al-Alfi in August 1993 and Prime Minister Atef Sedky in November 1993. Egyptian Jihad and rival armed group launched a wave of violence against Egypt's secular government in 1992, a campaign they only abandoned at the end of the decade. Nearly 1300 people died in the unrest, including policemen and government officials. It is responsible for the Egyptian Embassy bombing in Islamabad, Pakistan in 1995. In 1998 a planned attack against the US Embassy in Albania was thwarted by a roundup of suspects who are now called the Returnees from Albania.


Consequently, it is often considered synonymous with al-Qaeda (for example, by the US Treasury Department),[41] although some refer to it as a separate organization with al-Zawahiri as its leader and global jihad's main ideologist.[42]

[40] In June 2001,

Merger with al-Qaeda

Dissent among EIJ members to this change of direction and abandonment of the taking over Egypt as the group's primary goal, was so strong that "in the end, Zawahiri pledged to resign if the members failed to endorse his actions. The organization was in such disarray because of arrests and defections, and so close to bankruptcy, that the only choice was to follow Zawahiri or abandon al-Jihad". One of those who did abandon al-Jihad was Zawahiri's own brother Muhammed, the military commander of EIJ.[37]

[36] was extradited to Egypt from Bulgaria.Issam Abdel-Tawab In August 1998, [35] In 1998, three al-Jihad members were arrested in

According to journalist Lawrence Wright, based on testimony given at the trial of the Albanian cell members in the late 1990s or early 2000s, EIJ membership had dwindled to 40 members outside Egypt, and none at all inside the country where "the movement had been eradicated".[33]


On November 19, 1995, EIJ 1998 bombings of American embassies in Africa.

bin Laden was also weakened by this failed operation. The core of his al-Qaeda group was made up of members of Islamic Jihad. Because of Sudan's collaboration in the plot, the United Nations voted to impose sanction on the country.[30] To rehabilitate itself in the international community, the Sudanese government pressured bin Laden to leave the country.[26][31] Bin Laden and many EIJ returned to war torn Afghanistan having lost many members and almost all of bin Laden's assets.[32]

When the Sudanese found out about the executions in its jurisdiction, al-Zawahiri and the rest of EIJ were ordered to leave the Sudan.[26] It was a devastating blow to the group. "In Zawahiri's hands, al-Jihad had splintered into angry and homeless gangs".[29]

In 1994, Ahmad Salama Mabruk's 17-year-old son Musab, as well as the 15-year-old son Ahmed of Mohammed Sharaf, were captured by the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate and sexually abused. They were blackmailed with videotape of the sodomy, until they agreed to act as informants against their fathers' group. Musab went through his father's files and photocopied them for the Egyptians, but the Sudanese intelligence service saw the covert meetings and alerted al-Jihad, recommending that they treat the boys leniently if they confessed. al-Zawahiri convened a Sharia court, where Musab confessed he had been given explosives by the Egyptians which he was told to detonate at the next Shura council meeting. They were each found guilty of "sodomy, treason, and attempted murder", and sentenced to death by firing squad. The trial, and the execution, were filmed and copies of the film were distributed by al-Jihad.[28]

Back in Egypt, Mubarak launched a ruthless campaign to crush anyone involved in Islamist terrorism,[27] but in Sudan the EIJ had even worse troubles.

Expulsion from Sudan

Their hope was to decapitate the Egyptian government thereby eliminating the "iron grip" of the state security services, and creating a power vacuum which Islamists could then fill. Unfortunately for this plan, the attack was foiled by a malfunctioning grenade launcher and Mubarak’s bulletproof limousine.

In June 1995, another failed assassination attempt caused yet a greater setback. Operating from its exile base in Sudan, EIJ joined forces with the Egyptian Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif has claimed that Zawahiri was an agent for Sudanese intelligence services.[25] The leader of the plot was "Mustafa Hamza, a senior Egyptian member of the Al-Qaeda and commander to the military branch of the Islamic Group". The plotters had been planning the attack for more than a year, and even married local women in Ethiopia. They received assistance from Sudanese intelligence services, which smuggled weapons into their embassy in Ethiopia.[26][27]

Mubarak assassination attempt

EIJ's longtime association with [23]

A few months later in November, al-Jihad made another bombing attempt, this time to kill Egypt's prime minister, Atef Sidqi. The car bomb exploded close to a girls' school in Cairo as the minister was driven past. The minister, protected by his armored car, was unhurt, but the explosion injured 21 people and killed a young schoolgirl, Shayma Abdel-Halim. Unfortunately for al-Jihad this bombing was preceded by two years of terror by a larger terror group (al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya) that had killed 240, and the patience of the Egyptian public had run short. "Little Shayma's death captured people's emotions as nothing else had" and "when her coffin was borne through the streets of Cairo, people cried, 'Terrorism is the enemy of God!'" A harsh police crackdown followed and 280 EIJ members were arrested, with 6 eventually given a death sentence.[22]

In August 1993, al-Jihad unsuccessfully attempted to kill the Egyptian Interior Minister, Hassan Al Alfi, who was leading a crackdown on Islamic militants. A bomb-laden motorcycle exploded next to the minister's car, fatally wounding Nazih Nushi Rashed and killing Tarek Abdel-Nabi (Dia al-Deen) instantly.[19][20] The attack marked the first time Sunni Islamists had made use of suicide in terrorism, a technique made famous by Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is "likely that the notion of suicide bombing" was inspired by Hezbollah as al-Zawahiri had been to Iran to raise money, and had sent his underling Ali Mohamed, "among others, to Lebanon to train with Hezbollah".[21]

al-Jihad (EIJ) had a blind-cell structure, meaning members in one group did not know the identities or activities of those in another, so that if one member were captured they would not be able to endanger the whole organization. However, Egyptian authorities captured the membership director of EIJ, the one member who had all the other members names. The database in his computer listed every member's address, aliases, and potential hideouts. Al-Jihad leader al-Zawahiri bitterly lamented "the government newspapers" elation over “the arrest of 800 members of the al-Jihad group without a single shot being fired".[18]


In 1991, EIJ broke with al-Zumur and al-Zawahiri took control of the leadership. At this point, Marc Sageman (a former foreign service officer who was based in Islamabad from 1987 to 1989), says "the EIJ became a free-floating network without any real ties to its original society or to its surrounding society".[17]

[16] It was also at this time that some saw "the Egyptians" of the EIJ begin to exert an influence on

In the mid-1980s, in Peshawar Pakistan, the militants reconstituted themselves as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, "with very loose ties to their nominal imprisoned leader, Abbud al-Zumar". A physician by the name of Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif or "Dr. Fadl" was head of EIJ for some time,[12] although eventually, Ayman al-Zawahiri, "whose leadership style was autocratic," would take over. During this time EIJ became more extreme, with for example, Dr. Fadl emphasizing the importance of takfir and execution of apostates, which he argued should include those who registered to vote, since this was a violation of God's sovereignty over governance.[13]

Pakistan and Afghanistan

Most of the middle-rank members were discharged from prison after only three years and fled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to help the mujahideen there and escape persecution at home.[11]

The leader of the Cairo militants was Abbud al-Zumar, "a onetime army intelligence officer serving a life sentence for his part in the plot to kill Sadat". This faction, the Islamic Jihad, "was small and tightly disciplined".[10]

After the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian government succeeded in rounding up the membership of Tanzim al-Jihad, but "was rather lenient in the ensuing trial". In prison, the Cairenes and Saidis reverted into two factions; the Cairo militants later becoming the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and the Saidis later forming the al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, or the Islamic Group. According to Zawahiri, the EIJ was "different from the Takfir wal Hijra group as we do not consider people infidels because of their sins. And we are different from the Muslim Brotherhood because sometimes they do not oppose the government".[9]

al-Jihad or "Tanzim al-Jihad" was formed in 1980 from the merger of two clusters of Islamist groups: a Cairo branch, under Muhammad abd-al-Salam Faraj, and a Saidi (Upper Egypt) branch under Karam Zuhdi.[7] Faraj wrote the 1980 book al-Faridah al-Ghaiba (The Neglected Obligation), setting forth the standards for EIJ, of which 500 copies were printed.[8]



  • History 1
    • Pakistan and Afghanistan 1.1
    • Sudan 1.2
      • Mubarak assassination attempt 1.2.1
      • Expulsion from Sudan 1.2.2
    • Albania 1.3
    • Merger with al-Qaeda 1.4
  • Activities 2
  • Leadership 3
  • External Aid 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7

Following the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, former leaders of the group in Egypt formed a political party, called the Islamic Party, which became a member of the Anti-Coup Alliance following the 2013 Egyptian coup d'etat.[6]

[3] The EIJ has suffered setbacks as a result of numerous arrests of operatives worldwide, most recently in

The organization's original primary goal was to overthrow the Egyptian Government and replace it with an Islamic state. Later it broadened its aims to include attacking the United States and Israeli interests in Egypt and abroad.

[4] It is also banned by several individual governments worldwide.[3].al-Qaeda as an affiliate of United Nations active since the late 1970s. It is under worldwide embargo by the terrorist group Islamist Egyptian is an [2]

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