A suicide bomber killed 26 Egyptian soldiers on Friday, wounding 25 in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into an army checkpoint near El-Arish.
Egypt has seen an increase of terrorist attacks in the last couple of weeks with the majority of the attacks occurring in north Sinai but also in Cairo. Egypt has called for the global coalition to combat IS to also include all terrorist organizations, including Libya.
The Obama Administration temporarily suspended military aid and equipment from Egypt after the removal of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, including spare parts needed for Egypt’s Apache helicopters. Ten Apache helicopters are supposed to arrive in November, according to Egyptian Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Younes El-Masry. Egypt is also waiting for M1A1 tank kits, F-16 fighter jets and Harpoon missiles that were suspended after the removal of Morsi.
President Obama stated during his West Point speech in May that his new foreign policy doctrine is to create international alliances to support the fight against terrorism and to “shift our counter-terrorism strategy to more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks seek a foothold.” He called on Congress to “support a $5 billion Counterterrorism Partnership Fund to train and support partner countries.”
Egypt is America’s closest ally in the Arab world and has been battling an Islamist insurgency, killing hundreds of Egyptian military and police members. The United States continues to withhold crucial military equipment and economic aid.
Tera Dahl is the Executive Director of the Council on Global Security.