Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood goes underground, hides command structure in Gaza
On July 22, debkafile revealed that a group of six Muslim Brotherhood officials escaped from Egypt after the July 3 overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in a military coup and smuggled themselves into the Gaza Strip to lead an uprising against the military. The group was headed by Mahmud Izzat Ibrahim, known as the Brotherhood’s “iron man” and fourth in rank in its hierarchy after Supreme Guide Muhammed Badie.
The fugitives set up a command post at the Gaza Beach Hotel for operations against Egyptian military and security targets in collaboration with Hamas and armed Al Qaeda-linked Salafist Bedouin in Sinai. The group planned their revolt to spread quickly out from Sinai to Egypt proper and topple the interim rulers in Cairo.
Western intelligence agencies following the inner workings of the Muslim Brotherhood have since discovered that the Brotherhood’s plans are a good deal more high-powered than first thought.
According to debkafile’s intelligence sources, the movement never dismantled its clandestine paramilitary underground. Its hidden commanders manipulated front politicians from the shadows under three Egyptian presidents and continued to do so after the Brotherhood was elected to power in Cairo in 2012.
At all times since then, the Brothers stood ready to step in should their Freedom and Justice Party leaders be ousted and sent back to prison. “Supreme Guide,” Mohammed Badie was therefore no more than an obedient front for the Muslim Brotherhood’s real leader, who was until now Mr. X.
It now transpires that he is none other than Mahmoud Izzat Ibrahim, who is firmly at the helm and running the show both in Sinai and Cairo from the Gaza Beach Hotel, under the auspices of the Palestinian Hamas rulers.
He plans to confront with violence every action ordered against the Brotherhood by Defense Minister, Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
While conducting a war of terror against military targets in Sinai, Izzat Ibrahim’s orders keep thousands of followers maintaining their sit-in protests in Cairo for their president's reinstatement. They are determined to leave the military no option but to use force to disperse them.
Ibrahim's goal is to lead his movement into a bloody confrontation with the military.
Gen. El-Sisi, for his part, knows that the Brotherhood’s underground command center in the Gaza Beach Hotel must be destroyed in order to beat its war of resistance.
For effective action in the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian military needs help from Israel’s Defense Forces, just as the IDF needs the Egyptian army to counteract the al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists in Sinai who are dedicated to attacking Israel as well as Egypt.
This tacit interdependence and the interchanges against a shared enemy shot into prominence over two incidents. The first was the two-hour closure Thursday, Aug. 8 of Eilat airport at Israel’s southernmost tip, following an Egyptian intelligence tip-off over a missile threat from Sinai. Then Friday, Aug. 9, foreign sources reported that two missiles fired by an Israeli drone in North Sinai destroyed a missile launcher and killed four or five terrorists at Ajarah.
Israel never confirmed this attack. The impression it made was quickly overlaid with conflicting reports. Egyptian officials initially attributed the Israeli drone attack to intelligence cooperation between the two armies. An Al-Qaeda group in Sinai, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, accused Israel of killing four of its members by a drone strike and vowed vengeance. debkafile reported that the attack may not have been conducted by Israel but Egyptian authorities, which preferred to disavow an operation carried out on the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.
Finally, Sunday, the Egyptian military reported that its operation against armed groups in the Sinai believed to have been plotting attacks on security forces and other targets was ongoing. At least seven people were killed over night and six arrested in a raid.
The Egyptian military statement went on to report that the raid followed an air strike by the Egyptian military on Friday, which saw at least four people killed. The assault on Saturday happened when Apache helicopters hit areas south of Sheikh Zuwaid in north Sinai, according to Egyptian state media.
Israel’s Defense minister commented: “The Egyptian army is fighting first and foremost to defend Egyptian citizens and sovereignty. We will not let rumors and speculation impair the peace relations between our countries.”