ISIS in Sinai: Weakened But Still Dangerous

(Jerusalem Post) Zvi Mazel - Terrorist attacks by "the Sinai Province of the Islamic State" plummeted from 594 in 2015, to fewer than half that in 2016 and 2017, according to a recent report by Al-Ahram Weekly. The Egyptian Army killed the group's leader, Abu Anas el Ansari, in May 2016. He was replaced by Abu Hajer al-Hashemi, who is rumored to be a former Iraqi Army officer. More non-Egyptians have joined the group, including deserters from Hamas' Izzadin Kassam Brigades. These "foreigners" have failed to respect the Bedouin tribes of northern Sinai, even those who in the past had demonstrated sympathy toward the jihadists. At the same time, there have been bitter conflicts between the "Egyptians" in the group and the newcomers. Bedouin hostility combined with growing pressure from the Egyptian army led to the desertion of many militants. Some went back to Gaza, others departed for Libya. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.

2018-01-16 00:00:00

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