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Terrorism expands from Sinai to Cairo

Armed extremist groups in Egypt have spread their operations from the remote areas of the Sinai Peninsula to the densely populated metropolises of Cairo and the Delta.
A plainclothes policeman shouts after an explosion, which was followed by two further blasts, in front of Cairo University April 2, 2014. A series of explosions outside Cairo University killed two people on Wednesday, including a police brigadier-general, security officials said, in what appeared to be the latest militant attack in a fast-growing insurgency. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3JNLM

CAIRO — The violence in Egypt has taken a marked geographical shift in recent months from the remote areas of the Sinai Peninsula and the Suez Canal to the metropolises of Cairo and the Nile Delta. Analysts have two divergent opinions to explain this shift. Some analysts believe that the move by armed extremists toward the capital did not happen voluntarily and was not a planned strategy, but rather a shift enforced on these groups due to security measures and army operations in the Sinai Peninsula. The second opinion argues that what happened was a premeditated step taken by armed groups, to extend the war against the post-Muslim Brotherhood regime.

Brig. Gen. Khaled Akashe, a security expert who was formerly in charge of the security issue in the northern Sinai, explained to Al-Monitor that the shift in terrorist operations from distant locations to the heart of the country was one aspect of the escalation against the state. According to him, at first these groups were betting on isolating and controlling the Sinai Peninsula to establish an Islamic emirate. The targeting of locations such as Ismailia, Suez and Port Said was aimed at the most important navigation passage in the world: the Suez Canal. This was done to influence international public opinion, as foreign states would fear for their own interests in the canal. In addition, these three provinces have the largest gathering of Egypt’s army units.

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