|Egyptian soldiers keep watch in Sinai|
Sinai: Terrorist Insurgency Against Egypt - Abdallah Schleifer
Egypt is still reeling from the coordinated attack in the Sinai last week that cost 33 soldiers their lives. Army investigators said dozens were involved in this highly-coordinated attack, which benefited from experienced and possibly foreign hands. According to rumors circulating among Sinai tribesmen, there is now a working relationship between the Islamic State and a rejuvenated, enlarged Ansar al-Maqdis that has incorporated other local jihadist groups. There are reports from Syria that former Egyptian officers with jihadist sympathies, who had fled Egypt and now serve as a mainstay for ISIS intelligence, are involved.
In other words, Sinai is now home to a full-fledged insurgency, in all likelihood operating from bases in Gaza close to the border with Egypt, and staffed increasingly by Egyptians and Gazans who are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq and have now returned. The threat of a Hamas-tolerated or clandestinely-aided jihadist insurgency based in Gaza and raiding the Sinai would be cause for the Egyptian military to enter Gaza and destroy the insurgency.
The writer, a veteran American journalist covering the Middle East, is professor emeritus at the American University in Cairo.