Following recent clashes, new IS message softens tone with al-Tarbiyeen tribe, begs its support

In a clear sign of increasing alarm from the Islamic State-affiliated group Sinai Province, concerned over the recent declaration of war issued against it by North Sinai’s prominent tribe al-Tarbiyeen, the IS-affiliated Ibn Taymiyyah media center released a message in which the group subtly begged for “softness” from al-Tarbiyeen and other Sinai tribes.

The message began by describing the emergence of al-Tarbiyeen tribe and other tribes in the militant confrontations with Sinai Province as a critical development; it continued by affirming that its message was to deliver admonishment to these tribes.

Contrary to other recently issued statements, the IS message avoided mentioning clear threats to al-Tarbiyeen tribe; instead, it praised the tribes in the Sinai Peninsula by describing them as a fortified stronghold and strong shield to al-Maghdiyeen (affiliated militants).

Moreover, it noted that only a small fraction of the tribe has declared war against the IS in Sinai, adding that this does not necessarily mean that the entire tribe is willing to launch war against IS.

Recently, there have been frequent outbreaks of fierce military confrontations between the Sinai Province group and a number of prominent members from al-Tarbiyeen tribe that have managed to kill a number of IS militants.

Meanwhile, the Sinai Province group was able to target gatherings of a number of the tribe’s prominent members and kill them through suicide bombings; this pushed the tribe to clearly state that it would engage in military confrontation with IS in Sinai for the sake of eliminating them.

Although, the above IS message carries a softer, more peaceful tone addressed to al-Tarbiyeen tribe and other tribes in Sinai, the Sinai Province group has previously said in a statement that all al-Tarbiyeen members are “apostates” and should be killed.

“We are your soldiers. Your tribe al-Tarbiyeen has introduced its finest sons to join us, a number of them are our martyrs and others still are undertaking jihad (holy war),” the IS message read.

Furthermore, the message called on al-Tarbiyeen to clearly disown and separate from the “small fragment” that expressed or participated in fighting against Sinai Province; while the call was accompanied by confirmation that supporting IS will keep alive the glorious history of the Sinai tribesmen.

“We are sure al-Tarbiyeen tribe will disown its sons who have participated in fighting IS in Sinai alongside the apostate army and police forces,” the message said.

In the same context, the message praised the sons of al-Tarbiyeen tribe in the Palestinian Gaza Strip and admitted that a senior leader in Sinai Province, who is the son of al-Tarbiyeen tribe in Gaza, was killed in a military confrontation with the army in Sinai Peninsula.

The message also mentioned a number of names which it claimed are names of sons from al-Tarbiyeen tribe who were members in Sinai Province and have been killed in confrontations with the army.

The mention of these names was part of the main goal of the message, which is to gain support from the tribe and other tribes in Sinai Peninsula, moreover to persuade them not to participate in military operations against Sinai Province.

To achieve this target, the message concluded by saying that if Sinai tribes provided support for the Egyptian army and state, they will not gain any benefits, compared with the endless benefits they will get if they supported IS.

The entry of Sinai tribes in the war scene that is ongoing between Sinai Province and the state, represented by the army and police forces, is now believed to create radical changes in the future of this war.

This radical change will occur as the Sinai tribes are more aware; they have more information and knowledge of the hiding places of IS members in North Sinai and can reach them easily, unlike the armed forces.

Recently, al-Tarbiyeen managed to capture nine members from Sinai Province group, while they were trying to reach a tribal gathering to launch an attack, according to a statement released by the tribe’s spokesperson, Moussa el-Dalh.

The statement further asserted that among the nine captured was an IS Police Authority official, alleged to be active on the ground in North Sinai.  This step is the first-of-its kind to be achieved in the war which has been raging between the group and the state over the past three years.

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