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U.S. designates Sinai group that attacked Israel as terrorist

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration designated a Sinai-based group as terrorist in part because of its attacks on Israel.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis shares an ideology with al-Qaida but is not a formal affiliate, the State Department said in a statement Wednesday.

The group “was responsible for a July 2012 attack against a Sinai pipeline exporting gas to Israel,” the statement said. “In August 2012, ABM claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on the southern Israeli city of Eilat, and in September 2012, ABM militants attacked an Israeli border patrol, killing one soldier and injuring another.”

The statement also noted the group’s deadly attacks on Egyptian officials and on tourists.

The Foreign Terrorist Organization designation, which is made by the departments of State, Treasury and Justice, criminalizes any support for the named groups.

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