Egyptian authorities dig for more information on the Mosque attack in the Sinai that killed at least 305 people, including 27 children. Parts of North Sinai have been strongholds for militants for years, and since 2013, the government has been in an endless battle with them.
Army strikes against militant groups in the Sinai continued over the weekend as part of President Sisi’s promised iron fist response. The military says dozen of terrorists have been killed, and many of their vehicles, hideouts and arms destroyed.
But statements have been released many times before, and these groups continually seem to find a way forward.
“Facing terrorism in Sinai by force alone is not enough at all,” according to Hossam Haddad, researcher at Arab Center for Security Studies. “Sinai must witness massive economic development that provide employment to it youth, engaging them in work.”
Insurgency in North Sinai leaped in 2013 right after the military ousted Islamist president and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi.
The consequences were grave; hundreds of police and army personnel have since been killed. Some critics have been calling for dialogue to end the long standing rift, but the government has rejected these pleas.
“In the 1990s, the state had reconciled with many extremist groups, among them Al Qaeda leader Mohamed EL Zawahiri,” Haddad said. “Most of them remained on their Jihadist ideologies and created new groups. So the state understands that dialogue will only be temporarily and the problem will remain.”
Because of its geographic location, the Sinai is considered one of the most fertile lands for militant groups. The tribal nature, harsh mountainous landscape and closeness to the smuggling tunnels under the Gaza border make it extremely challenging for security officials to maintain flawless control. Adding to the problem are almost daily breaches at the Egypt-Libya border.