Discover more from Militant Wire
Weaponry of the Islamic State in Egypt
The Rise and Fall of Wilayah Sinai's Weapons Capabilities
As it is known, the Islamic State operates in many different continents today. The organization's activities have spread from West Africa to East Asia. Many jihadist organizations began to operate on behalf of IS in their own regions, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State in different time periods and in different places. One of the most important of these organizations is "Ansar Bait al-Maqdis" (ABM), later known as Islamic State - Sinai Province (Wilayah Sinai, ISSP), which broke away from Al-Qaeda in 2014 and swore allegiance to caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
However, the "Sinai Province", which operates as a branch of the Islamic State in Egypt, has suffered serious losses since its establishment. This analysis will trace the change in the group’s weaponry over time.
One of the prominent components of ISSP’s arsenal from 2015 was the 9M133-1 Kornet-E pattern ATGM.
ISSP militant, targeting an M60 Tank of the Egyptian Armed Forces, 2015
As will be seen more clearly in later periods, ISSP may have procured the 9M133-1 Kornet-E ATGM from Libya. When the weapons in the region are examined, it is seen that ISSP has obtained various other weapons from Libya.
Although ISSP has been holding and actively using these types of ATGMs for several years, nowadays they seem to have lost their capacity to carry out ATGM attacks.
Another important weapon used by ISSP is MANPADS weapons — the network has most often used the 9K32M Strela-2M.
ISSP militant with a 9K32M Strela-2M MANPADS, February 2017
ISSP militant with a 9K32M Strela-2M MANPADS in Al-Arish, June/July 2019
As seen above, MANPADS weapons seem to have been in ISSP's hands for a long time. The photo above can be considered newer than the previous example. However, there is no recent data on ISSP's capacity to use MANPADS.
Strela-2M MANPADS may have been both captured from the Egyptian Armed Forces and purchased from Libya. It is very difficult to specify the source of each one individually. Also, MANPADS weapons can be seen as one of the most effective weapons in the hands of some insurgent organizations. These weapons are quite frequently used by a range of militant groups in the Middle East.
In addition to these, ISSP also has many different heavy weapons. One of the weapons that stands out is the 25mm Oerlikon KBA autocannon.
ISSP techincal with a 25mm Oerlikon KBA autocannon, February 2017
ISSP techincal with a 25mm Oerlikon KBA autocannon, March 2019
The Oerlikon KBA autocannon seems to have appeared for the last time in 2019. This weapon was captured from a YPR-765 type tank belonging to the Egyptian Armed Forces. Egypt had purchased approximately 1,000 YPR-765 AIFVs from Belgium and the Netherlands. This weapon, which belongs to the AIFVs, was also seized as a result of the attacks carried out by the ISSP.
When the photos and videos published by ISSP in past years are examined, it is possible to see that the organization has seized a large number of weapons and ammunition other than the KBA autocannon.
Captured weapons by ISSP from Bedouin Tribes, May 2017
As seen above, ISSP seized a large number of weapons from the Bedouin tribes in 2017. These photos show FN FAL rifles, AK rifles (Type 56 variants, Zastava M70AB2, Bulgarian AKKS, a stockless Bulgarian AR-F), an RPG-7 Launcher, PK & Type 80 GMPGs, a rather interesting early model of Steyr AUG A1, Type 54/DShK & W85 heavy machine guns, FN FAL HBAR, and PG-7V & Type 69-1 rockets that were captured by ISSP.
In addition to the weapons mentioned above, there are many more interesting weapons that the ISSP has seized from militias and security forces.
Captured grenade launcher from the Egyptian Army near Sheikh Zuweid, North Sina, September 2018
Captured grenade launcher, AN/PVS-7 night vision devices and ammo by ISSP in Kilo-17, West of Arish, July 2018
The grenade launchers and ammunition above are actually seem to be Turkish 40mm TBA-6R1 (40mm Tamburlu Bombaatar) revolver grenade launcher (seems to be an early model with Serbian RBG 40mm/6 M11 style stock) and Turkish MKE MOD 60 HE grenades.
Sample photos of MKE MOD 60 HE grenades.
It is known that Turkey provided weapons to Libya. In addition, the government in Turkey has close relations with organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Because of this, there are allegations that Turkey secretly sent weapons to structures in Egypt from time to time. However, it was stated that these weapons were seized from the Egyptian Army. Therefore, it is very difficult to say anything definitive about the origin of the weapons. The Egyptian Army may have kept these weapons for the purpose of capturing and using them from various groups. But their exact rotation is a mystery.
In addition to these, various weapons seized by ISSP are listed below:
CZ-75B pistol, seized from a police officer in Arish, March 2017
M2HB machine gun and two Egyptian Misr AK rifles captured in Arish, April, 2019
When we examine the ISSP's other important weapons, we come across other weapons from Libya. The most important of these is the FN F2000.
Martyrdom photo of Abu-Khalid al-Maqdisi, killed in September 2017
Abu-Khalid al-Maqdisi is seen holding an FN F2000 with FN GL1 under-barrel grenade launcher in the above photo. Again, the main source of these weapons is probably Libya. Similar weapons can be seen in the hands of organizations in Gaza from time to time.
Another rare weapon used by ISSP is the Sig SG 552. The Sig SG 552 pictured below was probably also seized from Egyptian Security Forces.
ISSP militant with a Sig SG 552 rifle with 6 mags. Also the photo shows various captured weapons: M2HB machine guns, FN MAG (or its Egyptian copy: EGPMG), SGM machine gun, RPG-7 Launchers and large quantity of AK rifles. (released on Mid of 2015)
Video of the attack in which the weapons shown above were seized. An ISSP militaint with likely same Sig SG 552 rifle (with 4 mags), (released on Mid of 2015)
The weapons that ISSP has used and seized in the past years are rather notable. However, later on, the variety of their weapons and their attack capacity decreased significantly. Still, interesting weapons do still appear from time to time.
A Finnish Valmet RK 62 rifle seized by Egyptian Armed Forces (Source: Video by Egyptian MoD, May 3, 2020)
One of these guns is the Valmet RK 62. It is very difficult to say the exact origin of this weapon. However, Valmet RK 62 rifles, probably of Qatar origin, have surfaced in Libya. It is possible that these Valmet rifles may have even reached Nigeria.
At the same time, it is possible to see F-7 rockets produced by North Korea in the possession of ISSP. The F-7 rockets, along with the MKE MOD 60 HE bombs, are one of the most interesting munitions at ISSP's disposal.
Captured North Korean F-7 rockets along with 73mm Bulgarian projectiles for SPG-9 pattern recoilless rifles (2018). (Photo source)
It is not difficult to say that at least some of the F-7 rockets came from Libya. These rockets have been used by militants from the Central African Republic to Lebanon.
Among the weapons of Libyan origin, the most common is the AK-103-2. Unlike normal AK-103 rifles, this model has a 3 round burst mode as well as semi-automatic and fully automatic modes.
Also, as mentioned in the tweets above, it is possible to see Bulgarian Arsenal AR-M14F1, Hungarian AMD-65, FN FAL variants and a quite notable Beretta AR70/90 rifle being used by ISSP.
ISSP militant with an FN MAG/EGPMG machine gun during an attack on Egyptian Army in Rabaa (released on August 2020)
ISSP militant with an FN FAL Para and a Type 56-1 AK rifle (January 8, 2021)
3 ISSP militants, who were involved in killing of Coptic Christian Nabil Habashi Salama, were killed by Egyptian Security Forces in North Sinai. An AKMS rifle, Chinese Type 56(-2) AKs and a Hungarian AMD-65 were captured along with an F-1 hand grenade and mags/ammo (April 19, 2021). Note the lack of the foregrip on AMD-65, which is similar to another AMD-65 rifle that appeared in various photosets of ISSP.
ISSP militant, carrying an AMD-65 without the foregrip (May 20, 2020)
A similar AMD-65 without foregrip also appeared in the Eid Al-Adha photoset of ISSP:
Captured weapons from ISSP militants in North Sinai (June 30, 2020): A Chine Type 56-1 AK, Egyptian Misr AK and CZ-75 P-07 ‘Duty’ pistol
Captured materials from ISSP militants in Galabana, Ismailia (October 14, 2020): AK-103-2rifle, Chinese Type 56-1 AK, TT-33 pattern pistol, UZRGM fuze, detonating cords and IEDs
Apart from all this, we can also see ISSP militants producing their own weapons. The first of these weapons is an anti-material rifle.
Captured craft-produced anti-material rifle from ISSP militants. This photo was taken from an article on Silah Report. The article is quite informative about ISSP's handmade weapons: “Improvised Small Arms of ISIS in the Sinai Campaign”
These anti-material rifles apparently contain the grip and receiver from AK rifles. They also probably have a heavy machine gun barrel.
The grip and possibly the receiver of the captured AMR in the first example comes from a Chinese-made Type 56 rifle (note the wooden AK grip).
Craft-produced anti-material rifle in action (released on January 8, 2021)
Another craft-produced AMR in action. This time the trigger group, grip and perhaps the receiver appear to taken from a Type 56-2 AK rifle (note the curvy T56-2 style grip) (released on April 17, 2021)
In addition to anti-material rifles, it is possible to see improvised recoilless launchers using the “Davis Gun Principle” as well.
Improvised recoilless launchers by ISSP militants (released on January 8, 2021)
These launchers also appear to made to launch MK 118 Rockeye submunitions which are dispensed by Mk 20 Rockeye Cluster Bombs. (More information about this weapon can be found in the thread co-written with CalibreObscura)
Also in the same video, ISSP militants appear to be using an AKM pattern rifle which is fitted with an M203 under-barrel grenade launcher.
MK-118 Rockeye submunition based projectiles, sized from ISSP militants (August, 2021)
Large quantity of AK rifles (including Bulgarian Arsenal AR-M1F41 rifles, Libyan AK-103-2 rifle and Egyptian Misr AK rifles) were seized along with Mk 118 based projectiles (August, 2021)
AKM pattern rifle with M203 pattern UBGL (released on January 8, 2021)
The rifle with the M203 UBGL seems to be an Egyptian AKM-Misr.
The Egyptian licensed copy of the famous and reliable AKM. Egypt started producing this rifle in the 1970s at Maadi plant –a.k.a. Factory 54- until the former Egyptian president Anwar El-Sadat dismissed the Soviet military experts right before the start of Yom Kippur war. Later, when Egypt signed the Camp David agreement with Israel, Egypt’s armory began to switch from eastern (Soviet) into western (American) armament. For example, Egypt started licensed manufacturing of 40mm M203 Under Barrel Grenade Launcher or UBGL.
Both weapons were assembled together to fill the requirement of Infantry Forces in having an assault rifle combined with a grenade launcher. (Source: The Firearm Blog)
In general, it can be seen how much ISSP's firepower has decreased over time. Most of the important weapons (such as ATGMs and MANPADS) or rare weapons (Sig SG 552, Valmet RK 62 etc.) do not appear in the group’s more recently produced visual materials. Most of these were captured or destroyed during counter-insurgency operations. However, it is obvious that they continue to pose a threat in the region. Still, although the group has carried out various attacks in the Sinai, it has lost a very important part of its firepower.