The U.S. Department of State announced the designation of the Sinai-based extremist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.
On April 9th, the U.S. Department of State announced the designation of the Sinai-based extremist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, or ABM, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224.
This means that any assets belonging to the group’s members or affiliates that are within U.S. reach are immediately frozen, and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is effectively locked out of the global financial network. No U.S. citizen or company may conduct business with this group, or any of its affiliates. Further, no U.S. entity or citizen may knowingly provide, or even attempt to provide, material support or resources to the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is a relatively new group, having formed in Egypt after the January 2011 uprising that toppled the country's long-time President Hosni Mubarak. The group’s first known terrorist act was the July, 2012 blowing up of a gas pipeline exporting gas to Israel and Jordan. Thereafter, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis began a series of attacks on Israel, which included shooting rockets into the city of Eilat, and later attacking an Israeli border patrol unit.
After the ousting of President Mohammed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood–led government by the Egyptian army, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis shifted its focus to inside Egypt. The group began to attack Egyptian security forces, conducting drive-by shootings, suicide bombings and assassinations, to include the September 2013 attempted assassination of the Egyptian Interior Minister, and the January 2014 assassination of the head of the Interior Minister’s technical office.
Then, in February 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis expanded its targets to include foreign tourists, and claimed responsibility for the bombing of a tour bus in the Sinai Peninsula. Killed in this attack were the Egyptian driver and three South Korean tourists.
By designating Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the United States is taking a decisive step toward cutting off its funds, starving it of resources, disrupting its ability to execute its deadly agendas, and ensuring its operatives find it ever more difficult to carry out their acts of violence.