A group of unknown Islamist jihadis are believed to be responsible for yesterday’s deadly attack in Sinai which left 16 Egyptians dead. The Islamists allegedly entered Egypt via Gaza and were perhaps joined by other Bedouin in eastern Sinai. Their goal was to ultimately infiltrate Israel and kill or kidnap soldiers and civilians. Hamas for its part has denied any involvement.
Newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has strongly condemned the attack and has vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. This morning he deployed helicopter gunships to comb the area and Israel too has been on heightened alert.
This tragedy in Sinai represents a pattern of lawlessness and violence following Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011, which I have noted here and here. Writing in an INSS publication, analysts Udi Dekel and Orit Perlov share their insights of Egypt’s many challenges in Sinai.
Whether Sinai becomes increasingly lawless and dangerous or returns to a period of relative stability and calm can only be determined by the example Egypt sets in punishing those involved in this heinous attack and agreeing to take on a more proactive and assertive role in securing its borders.