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Terrorism in Egypt – Evaluation towards the end of 2018

In October 2018, the Egyptian regime declared on several occasions that the war against terrorist operatives in the country has been very successful and has curbed terrorism almost completely. The President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, announced during his visit to Russia on October 16 that the “Sinai 2018” military operation, which began in February 2018 with the aim of wiping out terror cells in northern and central Sinai, achieved impressive results.[1] In general, figures disclosed by the Egyptian army spokesman about the scope of widespread investments in the development of civilian infrastructure in the Sinai Peninsula point to a political plan to reduce terrorist organizations’ activities in Sinai. The capture of Hisham Ashmawi, a senior terrorist of Egyptian origin who operated in Libya and was responsible for carrying out attacks and setting up terror cells in Egypt, also indicates an important victory in the campaign against terrorism in Egypt.

Nevertheless, it seems that despite the Egyptian government’s achievements in the war against terrorism, there is still much work to be done. Terrorist organizations, especially the Islamic State, continue to document terrorist attacks against Egyptian security forces and disseminate them on social networks. The Egyptian media also continues to report on clashes between Egyptian security forces and terrorist operatives in various areas in Egypt. A shooting attack carried out by Islamic State fighters in the beginning of November against a bus carrying Coptic passengers overshadows the Egyptian government’s declarations and demonstrates that terrorist organizations are capable of carrying out serious attacks in Egypt. Moreover, according to an interview conducted in September this year with the spokesman of the Hasm terrorist organization, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, it is clear that terrorist operatives are working diligently to build and expand a terror network in Egyptian territory.

[1] 16.10.18. .Bassam Radhi, spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, was interviewed by the Russian RT television station in Arabic and also referred to “Sinai 2018” as a successful operation. 16.10.18.