On Sunday, seven Egyptian soldiers were killed and four wounded by a roadside bomb in the restive Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptian military has been battling a jihadist insurgency since the removal of former Islamist President Morsi, killing hundreds of police and military members.
The soldiers were killed while on patrol protecting a natural gas pipeline when a bomb exploded next to their vehicle. The attack occurred three days after two policemen were killed when an explosive in the north Sinai provincial capital of El-Arish hit their patrol car. In another incident over the weekend, three Egyptian soldiers were killed when a tunnel they were investigating collapsed on them near the Gaza Strip.
This week, 52 members of eight terrorist cells were arrested by Egyptian authorities, reported Ahram Online. The 52 militants were arrested in Giza, Minya, Daqahliya, Alexandria, Fayoum and Sharqiya governates. The militants captured had photos of Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi although the Muslim Brotherhood denies any involvement in violence.
General Hany Abd el-latif, spokesman of the Interior Minister, said in a statement that the Ministry is continuing efforts to uproot the plans of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organization. The plans aim at attacking the country’s infrastructure (power plants, railway, public transportation and water plants) and spreading terror among citizens by planting bombs in crowded areas.
According to Reuters, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb stated on Monday that Egypt has no plans to provide the United States with direct military assistance in its war against the Islamic State. Reuters added, “Mehleb said Egypt’s priority is ensuring stability at home, where security officials face resilient jihadist insurgents based in the Sinai Peninsula and regard militants in neighboring Libya as a serious threat”.
Prime Minister Mehleb told Reuters, “For the Egyptian army the most important thing is its borders and the stability of its country and the protection of its country”.
Egypt was the first country to raise awareness of the global threat of terrorism and calling for an international response. 33 million Egyptian people went to the streets on June 30th, 2013 to call for the removal of Islamist President Morsi after the Muslim Brotherhood held power for one year turning Egypt into part of the Islamic state. The Egyptian people resisted Morsi turning Egypt into a terrorist state and have then taken steps to establish a “new Egypt” aspiring to build democratic principles of freedom under law. Egypt has followed the democratic roadmap, then General Sisi established last July at the same time as they battle a war on terrorism on their homeland.
Tera Dahl is the Executive Director of the Council on Global Security.