Al Qaeda second man Ayman el Zawahri said in a new video footage aired by the media Saturday August 5, 2006 that some of the Egyptian Islamic Group in Egypt joined al Qaeda” We bring good news to the Nation that knights from the Islamic Group have closed ranks and got together” he said. He added that this step is aimed to mobilize the Nation’s potentials in the face of its enemies in what he depicted as the worst crusade campaign ever launched against Islam. Al Zawahri mentioned names of Islamic Group prominent figures, including Mohammed el Islambuly who is brother of Khaled el Islambuly the Islamic jihad member who, along other jihad group members, assassinated President Sadat in 1981. Zawahri also mentioned the names of Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, Rifae Taha, and Mohammed Mostafa el Mokrea. A man by the name of Mohammed el Hakaimeh was introduced by Zawahri as an Islamic group leader. Appearing in a still of video footage, al Hakaimeh confirmed the alliance, saying that this step came as solidarity with “our steadfast Scholar Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman who is imprisoned in the US and as a mobilization for the resistance against the enemy who occupies Muslim countries”
It is reported that Al Hakaimeh has been an active member with the Islamic Group in Aswan, Upper Egypt, since the late seventies, and then he, along with a large number of Arab Islamists, headed for Afghanistan to fight shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan fighters against the Soviet occupation. As regards Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, he spends a life sentence in a US prison after he was condemned in the case of bombing the World Trade Center in 1993.
Zawahri criticized those Islamic Group leaderships who announced in 1997 that they would give up violence. He attributed this step to the influence of the government and the US pressures which led these members to announce complete halt of operations. Zawahri accused those members of deviation “from the original path of the Islamic Group based on the Koran and Sunna of the prophet.”
In an exclusive statement to Ikhwanweb, Dr.Kamal Habib the London-based researcher in the Islamic groups’ affairs said that what Zawahri said is true since a number of the Egyptian Islamic group still embrace ideological visions different from that adopted by the members who submitted the stop of violence initiative. He added that most of this diehard trend lives in exile and sees that the fighting is the only true path, especially which connections were made by the Al Qaeda figures in an attempt to persuade them to join in.
On the timing of this declaration, the London- based researcher said that the timing has something to do with the goings on in Lebanon and the massacres perpetrated by Israel against the Lebanese people. He added that this step also may be aimed to expose the ugly face of the US, Israel, the Arab rulers and the international establishments and the like. “It is also a message to the US that the unification of the Islamic groups is a step eventually aimed to thwart the US hegemony on the region”, he said. On the reaction of the Egyptian security agencies to this new alliance, Habib ruled out any effect brought about by this alliances on the Egyptian security situation, citing the declaration of the Islamic group in 1995 on halting the military operations, which he said manifests the failure of the group to achieve its goals.
Zawahri joined the Islamic jihad group when it was founded first in 1973, and he was one of 301 defendants who were detained after the assassination of Sadat and cleared by the court. However, he spent three years in prison for possessing an unlicensed gun. He headed the Jihad Group in Egypt in 1993, and he was awarded a death sentence in absentia by the Egyptian State Security Court in 1999.