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Sinai security stymied by continued terrorist attacks

Security forces in Egypt seem to be ineffective in defending the peninsula against terrorist attacks, and may be investing too little in their military defense.
Egyptian residents and emergency personnel gather at the site of a car bomb explosion that targeted a police station in North Sinai's provincial capital of El-Arish on April 12, 2015. The bombing came hours after a roadside blast targeted an army vehicle killing at least six soldiers and wounding two in the peninsula, where security forces are battling an Islamist insurgency. AFP PHOTO / STR         (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

EL-ARISH, Egypt — The terrorist organization Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (Wilayat Sinai) carried out two large attacks on April 2 and April 12 that resulted in heavy losses among the security forces. The attacks killed 35 members of the armed forces and the police — including officers and soldiers — in addition to eight civilians. They also wounded 100 members of the security forces and 40 civilians, as confirmed to Al-Monitor by a medical source. On the other hand, five of the terrorists who carried out the attacks were killed. This led to a state of controversy and bewilderment among the Egyptian people, as terrorist attacks are becoming more aggressive despite the positive statements released by the military regarding the elimination of terrorism.

A researcher on Sinai Peninsula affairs and armed groups, who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, said, “The bewilderment at the success of the terrorist attacks in Sinai is misplaced, because the army has not changed its plans. The latter are defensive and [involve] attempts to repel attacks and close holes, rather than being offensive plans to target and root out terrorism.”

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