Egypt: Islamic State group claims responsibility for attack that killed 11 soldiers

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility via its propaganda organ Amaq for the attack which left eleven dead in the ranks of the Egyptian army in the Sinai on Saturday May 7. This toll is one of the highest recorded by Egyptian forces for years on their soil. The attack on a military hydraulic pumping station in the desert peninsula, where radical cells operate, some of which have pledged allegiance to IS, sparked a wave of convictions abroad. The African Union, Paris, Washington or Khartoum have all denounced an act “terrorist” who, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has promised, will “will not overcome the determination of the country and its army to cut the evil of terrorism at the root”.

(Translation : “The sons of the fatherland always answer the call of their fatherland with courage and sacrifice, in unique self-sacrifice and unwavering faith for the preservation of the fatherland. I assure you that these treacherous terrorist operations will not undermine the resolve of the people of this country and its armed forces to complete the uprooting of the roots of terrorism.”)

War in Sinai

The army and the police launched in February 2018 a vast operation “counter-terrorism” in the Sinai but also in the western desert, between the Nile valley and the border with Libya. In the Sinai, the attacks are particularly concentrated on one point: the oil and gas pipelines that supply Israel and Jordan. Regularly, the army announces that it has killed jihadists in this area. In all, more than a thousand of them and dozens of members of the security forces were killed, according to official figures, but no assessment from an independent source is available and North Sinai is off-limits to journalists.

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Attacks

The last major attack in Cairo dates back to May 2020, when an attack targeted the pyramids of Giza in the southwest of the capital, leaving 17 injured, a month before Egypt hosted the Africa Cup football nations. In August 2019, also in Cairo, around 20 people were killed when a car loaded with explosives rammed three other vehicles at high speed, causing a huge explosion. The following month, a policeman and seven members of a “terrorist cell” were killed in exchanges of fire in Cairo. These jihadists were preparing, according to the authorities, to attack Christians during the Easter celebrations.

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