Egyptian Islamic Jihad
EGYPTIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD
Islamist extremist movement, created at the end of 1976 by former members of the Islamic Liberation Organization. Formed under the initiative of Ali al-Maghrebi, it was partially dismantled by Egyptian authorities in 1978. A few members who escaped from persecution decided to continue the activities of the group, organizing anti-Christian operations in the south of Egypt. In 1979, Lieutenant Colonel Abud al-Zumur joined the movement and became one of its main leaders, along with the ideologue Abdul Salam Faraj. The latter, author of the tract Al Farida al-Gha'iba (The hidden imperative), recommended a program of action meant to establish an Islamic state, while commanding a jihad against the regime in place in Cairo. On 6 October 1981, a movement commando assassinated President Anwar al-Sadat during a military parade commemorating the 1973 Arab-Israel War. Two days later, the jihad cell of Upper Egypt staged riots, causing the deaths of almost two hundred people. Many movement members were arrested and imprisoned for a few months. Some of them left Egypt to join the Afghan resistance against the Soviet army. In April 1982, Abdul Salam Faraj, along with the members of the commando that assassinated Sadat, were executed. After the death of President Sadat, the movement was banned, but in 1987 Mahmud Sayyed Jaballah was accused of having reconstituted it and was sentenced to prison. Reorganizing, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad carried out new attacks, principally against Egyptian political figures and security heads, as well as against foreign tourists in Egypt. Repressed by Egyptian authorities, some of these militants settled in Pakistan and in Europe.
Between 1989 and 1991 the movement was seemingly led by Ayman Muhammad al-Zawahri. (In 1992, after Zawahri was expelled from the movement, he formed his own organization, which he named Tala'i al-Fatah [Avant-Garde of the Conquest], an appellation that was already attached to an armed branch of the Jihad. Zawahri, then based in Pakistan, took credit for the attack on 19 November 1995 on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad.) In February 1998, Egyptian Islamic Jihad joined the World Islamic Front for Holy War against Jews and Crusaders (Front of Liberation of the Holy Sites of Islam), known as al-Qaʾida, whose main leader was Osama Bin Ladin, and with which al-Jamaʿa al-Islamiyya was also affiliated. On 18 April 1999, at a trial of 107 people accused of belonging to the Jihad, the Egyptian high military court tried the principal leaders, including Zawahri, in absentia and sentenced them to death. In 1997 some former Jihad members formed the Islah (Reform) Party and in 1999 others, including Muhammad Ali Sulayman, Raʿafat Ibrahim Nasr, Amin al-Demiri, and Sabri Ahmad Muhammad, created the Shariʿa Party. These parties have thus far been refused permission to contest elections, since parties based on religion are banned under Egypt's constitution).