Al Qaeda urges Egyptians to topple government


Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Egyptians to topple their government in the second message from Islamist militants calling for violence in Egypt where presidential elections are due in March.

Egypt stepped up its battle with Islamist militants ahead of the vote on March 26-28. Cairo launched the latest military offensive against an Islamic State branch in Sinai which killed hundreds of police and soldiers and some civilians since it launched an insurgency in 2014.

Islamic State, an enemy of al Qaeda, released a video on Sunday warning Egyptians against taking part in the vote and urging Islamists to attack security forces and leaders.

In an undated audio recording, the Egyptian-born Zawahiri did not issue any specific threat and did not mention any election.
“I call on everyone … to work to uproot this apostate, criminal and corrupt regime and to jihad with weapons, money, word and actions, raids and ambushes, strikes and protests,” Zawahiri said in the recording.

Al Qaeda first posted the recording in its Telegram channel last week. The group has not recently claimed attacks in Egypt, with a group linked to it claiming a deadly assault on police in Egypt’s western desert in October last year.

Zawahiri has publicly criticised Islamic State for its brutal methods, including beheadings, drownings and immolation.