Sinai Is Becoming a Major Threat to Egypt

(Jerusalem Post) Zvi Mazel - Six Egyptian policemen and a soldier kidnapped last week in the Sinai Peninsula were released unhurt after marathon negotiations Wednesday between a representative of military intelligence, a Salafi sheikh and a representative of the Swarka tribe, one of the largest in Sinai. The kidnappers understood that a large-scale Egyptian military operation was in the wings, with helicopters, armored vehicles and special forces at the ready. It was made clear that the kidnapping had united all political forces in Egypt against the jihadist perpetrators. The kidnappers had demanded the release of jihadist terrorists jailed following the terror attacks on Taba and Sharm e-Sheikh in 2004 and in northern Sinai in 2011. According to Salafist sources quoted in the media, the Tawhid wal-Jihad group - to which the jailed terrorists belong - is behind the kidnapping. It is affiliated to al-Qaeda and comprises veteran Egyptian jihadists, Salafists from Gaza and local Bedouin who are traditionally hostile to the central government. Some 2,000 terrorists belonging to a number of small jihadi organizations are active in northern Sinai. They conduct raids against police stations, roadblocks and army patrols. The army is vainly trying to get the full support of the regime for an all-out effort to eliminate them, but they share the same ideology as the Muslim Brotherhood ruling Egypt today. The Muslim Brothers don't seem to understand that what is needed in Sinai is a new policy of development and security benefiting the Bedouin population. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt.

2013-05-24 00:00:00

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