Hisham Ali Ashmawi condemned and called for a holy war against the government of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, according to Reuters, who cited the SITE intelligence group.
The statement came in an online audio message attributed to him, which was accompanied by two pictures of him in military uniform.
Ashmawi is considered extremely dangerous, as he is a former Special Forces officer, and is now one of Egypt’s most wanted jihadists.
“All of you must come together to confront your enemy. Do not fear them, but fear Allah if you are truly believers,” he said as he proclaimed Egypt is “overpowered by the new pharaoh” Al-Sisi.
He further accused Al-Sisi “and his soldiers” of fighting “our religion”, and killing “our men and women”.
Ashmawi is the “Emir” of the jihadist cell known as Al-Murabiteen, which is small, but with their knowledge of the Arab world’s largest military, they are considered to pose a serious security threat.
The Al-Murabiteen group is reportedly a cell formed within the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis militant group. The jihadists rebranded themselves “State of Sinai” after pledging allegiance to regional radical group “Islamic State”.
Ashmawi is suspected to have been behind several high-profile attacks on the Egyptian state, including a massacre of military personnel in Sinai, known as the Al-Farafra massacre.
Security officials also suspect the jihadist masterminded the assassination of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat in a Cairo explosion late last month, the first such killing of a top state official since 1990.
Urban attacks have risen as part of a growing militant insurgency, which has mainly been focused in the restive Sinai Peninsula’s north.
Most attacks in North Sinai have been claimed by the “State of Sinai” jihadist group, which aims to topple the government in Cairo.