Egypt's Sinai Conflict


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What is happening
  • Rebellion: Security operations against rebels in Sinai have been ongoing since 2000, but the rebellion picked up the moment after the military coup in 2013.
  • In late 2014, Egypt declared a state of emergency in the region while Sinai's most active armed group pledged its allegiance to ISIL.
  • The state of emergency was declared in the region.
  • 2018 campaign: A major operation was launched on February 18 with Egyptian ground, air and naval forces along with border guards and police on the hunt.
  • The army ordered hospitals to be placed on high alert, preparing extra beds and personnel, to deal with emergencies and medical evacuations.
  • Demolitions: Schools and dozens of homes have been demolished, using heavy weapons and arms machinery that range from howitzers, fighter jets, tanks and attack helicopters.
  • Amnesty International also reported the use of cluster bombs in its operations.
  • Israeli warplanes have also carried out covert air raids in Sinai in coordination with Egypt, the New York Times reported.
  • Communication: Egypt's military operations have reportedly also targeted mobile phone signals in the region, and even jammed reception in the neighbouring Gaza Strip and in Israel.
  • An Egyptian official said, "Obviously, we want to stop terrorists from communicating."
The following casualties are based on military statements by the Egyptian army.

Troops: Twenty-four Egyptian soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the military operation in Sinai on February 9.

According to the latest military statement on March 19, "an officer and three conscripts were killed", while eight troops, including three army officers, were injured.

Insurgents: Thirty-six fighters killed in clashes with the military in the North Sinai city of Arish in the past five days.

Detentions: More than 3,100 people have been detained so far, of which 345 in the past five days.

Why Sinai
  • Attacks: Some armed groups in Sinai have reportedly claimed responsibility for a series of attacks that have killed hundreds in Egypt.
  • The official statement announcing the military operation said the operations are a "confrontation against the terrorist and criminal elements" and intend to "tighten control of the ports of the Egyptian state."
  • Elections: "I think this has to do a lot with the forthcoming presidential election," Middle East security expert Omar Ashour told Al Jazeera.
  • "When the coup happened in 2013, you saw an escalation. The whole idea of the coup and that operation was that security and anti-terrorism measures needed to be implemented, partly in Sinai but also elsewhere, " Ashour said.
  • Greater Gaza: Others read into an Israeli proposal to create a Palestinian state in Gaza and Northern Sinai, where millions of Palestinian refugees could potentially end up.
  • Israeli media reports in 2014 suggested that Sisi may have agreed to cede 1,600sq km in Sinai to Gaza, expanding the enclave's size fivefold.


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ISIS main man power supplies comes from Gaza through tunnels ..... soon those tunnels will be destroyed by the recent measures done by the Egyptian boarders gaurds .


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Shifting militant tactics curb development in Egypt's North Sinai​

CAIRO (Reuters) - When Egyptian farmer Mohamed al-Qalaji’s family returned to their village in North Sinai last month after the army had expelled Islamist militants, his son was killed by a booby trap in a sheep pen.


FILE PHOTO: Military forces are seen in North Sinai, Egypt, December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo

Egypt is rolling out ambitious development projects in the peninsula adjoining the Suez Canal, Israel and Gaza, but pockets of instability persist despite an intensified military campaign.

Large scale assaults on military and government positions have subsided but militants have shifted tactics, staging more individual attacks, deploying snipers and planting explosives, security sources and analysts say.

Their ability to temporarily overrun villages near Bir al-Abd in north-west Sinai this summer shows security remains fragile, while poverty and neglect have not been fully addressed, they say.

At least 15 people have been killed by explosive devices around Bir al-Abd since Oct. 10, security sources said, alarming residents and highlighting the risks for development projects.

“Eight booby traps went off in houses in our village alone,” said Qalaji, 39, speaking by phone. “People are afraid to enter their houses.”

While southern Sinai is home to the highly secured Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and other tourist spots, much of the rugged peninsula is thinly populated and underdeveloped.

An Islamist insurgency spread in northern Sinai after the military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.

Hundreds of policemen and soldiers, and more than 1,000 civilians have died, according to official statements.

Sinai Province, a militant group loyal to Islamic State (IS), has drawn support from local Bedouins complaining of marginalisation, a charge the government denies.

Last month on the anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel that led to Egypt regaining control of Sinai, the government publicised projects to provide social housing, water, roads, industrial zones, education and healthcare.

Inaugurating a university and museum in Sharm el-Sheikh, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said 600-700 billion Egyptian pounds ($38-44 billion) had been spent on development in Sinai over the past six years.

In northeastern Sinai, the army has created a buffer zone and destroyed tunnels which it says were used by smugglers to send weapons and fighters between Egypt and Hamas-run Gaza.

“Every day we are launching new projects in towns across the governorate,” North Sinai governor Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha told local TV.

Contacted by Reuters, Egypt’s state press centre sent an official video in which Sisi says countering terrorism in Sinai will not prevent “real development” there.


Among the projects are more than 1,000 free-standing “Bedouin homes”, after some residents complained that they preferred houses with farmland to the apartments the government was building.

Sheikh Abdallah Juhama, head of the Sinai tribal war veterans who fought in 1973 against Israel, said development projects such as housing and agriculture had helped Bedouins.

The state had shown more interest in the region by also building roads, wells, schools and bridges. “We demand more development and the state is going in this direction,” he said.


To help drag the region out of poverty, the United States has run projects to provide water worth $50 million in North Sinai. Arab countries have also extended aid.

Oded Berkowitz, a security analyst, said militant attacks had fallen to 15 a month from 40 in late 2017 as Egypt improved security on its borders with Gaza and Libya.

But the temporary capture of inhabited areas around Bir al-Abd, lower-frequency militant activity in north-eastern Sinai, and attempted assaults near the Suez Canal show how challenges remain for the security services, he said.

Militant sniper operations, which have shifted west from the Gaza border to the outskirts of el-Arish, rose to at least 18 between January and September 2020, up from 16 in 2018 and 2019 combined, two Egyptian security sources said.

Militants have also kidnapped and killed those they accuse of collaborating with the state.

An Israeli security source said the Egyptian army controlled the territory, but continued attacks were a source of concern.

Squeezed by military operations, Sinai Province has upped its activity around Bir al-Abd, accessible from desert tracks to the south, security sources said.

“Bir al-Abd is an open desert area which is hard to monitor,” said one of the sources. Hassan al-Shaarwai, who has a workshop in Bir al-Abd, said: “There is more terrorist activity here, there are more incidents on the roads.”

Travel to North Sinai is restricted to residents.

Some Western donors have held back projects over security concerns or for lack of a local partner who can work independently of the authorities, one diplomat said.

“Its a military zone where you cannot operate without military approval so you can’t verify progress of projects,” the diplomat said.

Several residents said they had received new apartments from the state in Rafah, bordering Gaza, or other towns, after their homes were destroyed.

But others said they preferred to stay in Ismailia, a mainland city across the Suez canal, and were still afraid to return.

“Certainly militant capacity has been degraded, but not to the point of securing the province for the safety of its residents or of economic development,” said Allison McManus, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Policy.

“For the most part, massive development of North Sinai is still a rather far-fetched vision.”



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Egypt’s armed forces wipe out 40 terrorists in Sinai: Military Official​

Egypt’s Armed Forces on Tuesday killed 15 takfiri insurgents in Sinai, Military Spokesperson Tamer al-Refai announced, adding to the 25 eliminated in strikes on 437 terrorist hotbeds since September 1 until December 8 for a total of 40 wiped out.

Up to 77 militants were killed and one arrested since July 22 up until Sunday.

Egypt’s General Command of the Armed Forces announced on Sunday that the armed forces have eliminated 77 takfiri militants and arrested another one from July 22 until Sunday.

The Sunday statement explained that this comes as part of the army’s efforts to combat terrorism at all of Egypt’s strategic borders.

Combat operations destroyed 317 hideouts housing terrorist elements, with explosives, cars and spare motorcycle parts found in North Sinai.

A large number of shelters containing food supplies for the terrorists were also destroyed.

The General Command added that the Air Force succeeded in targeting and destroying nine four-wheeled vehicles loaded with weapons and ammunition while attempting to penetrate the western borders.

Egypt has been battling a wave of terrorism which has killed hundreds of security forces and personnel since the army toppled late President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, in response to mass protests against his one-year rule.


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