Even as the self-declared caliphate of the Islamic State has lost most of its ground in Syria and Iraq, an ISIS branch in the Sinai is giving the Egyptians fits.
Despite billions in U.S. counterterrorism aid, after four years Egyptian security forces have made little progress against the IS faction, Wilayat Sinai, which has cost Cairo the lives of hundreds of police officers and soldiers:
Since July 2013, at least 1,000 members of the security forces have been killed in terrorist attacks across the restive Sinai Peninsula, according to data compiled by the nonprofit Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. In 2017, more than 200 members of the security forces have been killed there.
Wilayat Sinai alone has claimed more than 800 attacks across Egypt since its pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State in November 2014, said Nancy Okail, the Tahrir Institute’s executive director. Egyptian security forces, she added, have killed more than 2,500 suspected terrorists in operations in Sinai since 2013, although unofficial numbers reported by local media are significantly higher.
In northern Sinai, Islamic State-linked militants are leading the Islamist insurgency launched in the summer of 2013 after Egypt’s military overthrew the elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi. The coup was led by the current president, Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, and the insurgency’s stated goal is to topple his government.
As ISIS is being driven out of its sanctuaries in Syria and Iraq, fighters and allied factions are turning up elsewhere — Egypt, throughout North Africa, Afghanistan, and even the Philippines. [source]
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