At least 12 people were killed on Sunday when militants linked to the Islamic State carried out three separate attacks on Egyptian security forces in the northern Sinai Peninsula, including bombing a police station, according to officials from the ministries of Interior and Health.
The attacks were the latest in a series of sophisticated assaults by the militants, carried out across towns that have become the focal point of an insurgency against the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. An Egyptian extremist group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, appeared to claim responsibility for the attacks on Twitter.
Mr. Sisi’s government has mounted a military offensive against the Sinai militants, in response to attacks that gathered pace after the military ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first elected president, in the summer of 2013. Despite the heightened response, the government has struggled to protect its soldiers, police officers and security officials, who have come under frequent attack at checkpoints and in police stations or while traveling in their vehicles.
The security vulnerabilities have undercut an effort by Mr. Sisi to establish Egypt as a regional military power. In recent months, Mr. Sisi has sent warplanes to strike jihadists in Libya and committed the Egyptian military to a Saudi-led offensive on Houthi militiamen in Yemen. Saudi officials have also raised the possibility of launching a ground invasion of Yemen that would likely lean heavily on Egyptian troops.
Cairo’s participation in that war carries risks for Mr. Sisi in Egypt, where many remember the country’s calamitous military intervention in Yemen in the 1960s, which left thousands of Egyptian soldiers dead.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Kareem Fahim and Merna Thomas