Sinai's biggest Bedouin tribe declares war on IS group

Sinai's biggest Bedouin tribe declares war on IS group
One of the Sinai's most notorious tribes announces war on the Egyptian branch of IS, following the killing of two of their men by militants.
2 min read
29 April, 2015
Militancy in the Sinai is a growing concern for authorites in Cairo [Getty]

The largest Bedouin tribe in the Sinai region has declared war on militants aligned with the Islamic State group after the murder of two tribe members.

Shiekh Abd al-Basit Ghoneim Selim, of the Tarabin tribe, called on his followers on Wednesday to help the police and army in their war against the IS-affiliate Wilayat Sinai.

Shiekh Mousa al-Dalh, another Tarabin leader, urged other tribes in Egypt to "come together to combat terrorism". He told the Egyptian satellite channel Dream TV: "We should get rid of the physiological barriers between us and the armed forces to work together to defend our land."

The Tarabin declaration comes in response to Wilayat Sinai's decapitation of a 16-year-old boy from the tribe on Monday morning.

The group also murdered a tribal elder for not heeding its warnings, sent via Twitter and leaflets in Sinai, to avoid contact with the Egyptian military.

The al-Mal newspaper said 300 armed tribesmen launched a revenge attack on al-Berth, a Wilayat Sinai stronghold. Heavy gunfire was exchanged between the two groups although no casualties were reported.

     Their statement is probably not genuine they might just want to improve their image.
Anonymous Egyptian police officer

A Sinai police officer, who spoke to al-Araby al-Jadeed on the condition of anonymity, said he doubted the tribe's call to arms was genuine.

He said that the Tarabin were notorious for their work in drugs and smuggling between Gaza and Egypt.

The tribe has stayed out of the conflict between Egypt's security services and militant groups.

"Their statement is probably not genuine they might just want to improve their image and pretend to be helping the police and army," he said.

Wilayat Sinai, is made up of local Bedouin and foreign fighters and pledged allegiance to IS in November. It was originally called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis before pledging allegiance to the Islamic State late last year.

In January, the group killed 44 people in six simultaneous attacks on army and police bases in al-Arish.

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi recently extended a state of emergency in Sinai by three months.