Anti-terror operations in Sinai Peninsula

Egypt is one of the most powerful countries from Africa and it is also affected by terrorism as many countries from North Africa and Islamic Maghreb, but the Egyptian authorities are better handling terrorism in comparison with other countries.

Sinai Peninsula from Egypt is the area where terrorist groups such as ISIS or Al Qaeda operate due to its geostrategic position. It remains a particularly dangerous area, with frequent attacks against security forces and civilians.

How does Egypt keep terrorism under control?

During this year, various operations took place in the north of Sinai Peninsula in order to clear Egypt of extremists. Last month the most recent anti-terror operations took place and killed 77 militants. A total of 317 hideouts and stores where explosive materials were kept in northern Sinai by militants were destroyed. The Air Force also destroyed nine four-wheel drive vehicles fully loaded with weapons and ammunition while they tried to cross the western borders. “The armed forces emphasize their efforts to secure all strategic directions of the state, eliminate the roots and uproot terrorism and provide security for the great people of Egypt” said the Armed Forces spokesperson.

What are the targets of terrorists?

Egypt has been fighting Islamist militants who have killed hundreds of police officers and soldiers since the ousting of Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. Egypt’s history in recent decades is linked to the wave of jihadist terrorism that has become a major global threat.

While terrorist attacks primarily targeted Egyptian security personnel, civilians and foreigner were also victims. Terrorist groups carried out increased kidnappings and executions of individuals suspected of collaborating with the Egyptian government and military. Ongoing terrorism has resulted Egyptian deaths and has hurt the country’s tourism industry and overall economy.

Why is North Sinai a favorable area for terrorism?

North Sinai has long been a hotspot for violence –with its geography, history, society and politics all helping to explain why armed militant groups have arisen in the region. Communities living in Sinai have been marginalized by successive Egyptian regimes. Discrimination towards communities in Sinai is based on the common accusation that they are not “real” Egyptians, or they are traitors who work for Israeli interests.

Therefore, the central government has treated Sinai’s population with disdain, political exclusion and neglect. Due to its neglect by the state, its geographical isolation and proximity to regional conflicts, North Sinai has been an attractive base for Islamist militants for years. But only recently has it become a theatre for violence itself.

The unstable and volatile political situation from Egypt represent an advantage for the terrorist groups that are present in this area, because the extremists will always be looking for instable territories which allow them to carry out their activities without anyone standing in their way.