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Egypt In State Of War After Massive Sinai Assault By Islamic State Affiliate

By Missing Peace
Members of ISIS Branch Wayilat SinaiMembers of ISIS Branch Wayilat Sinai

On Wednesday July 1, Islamic State launched a string of massive attacks on Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula. Islamic State affiliate Ansar Bayit al-Maqdis (Waliyat Sinai) simultaneous attacked at least five military checkpoints and a police station in Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai this morning. At least 100 people died in the fighting that was still continuing hours later.

Army spokesman Brig-Gen Mohammed Samir reported that more than 70 terrorists fired mortar rounds and detonated a car bomb in attacks on five checkpoints in the Sheikh Zuweid area of North Sinai province. “Ten soldiers were killed or wounded along with 39 assailants,” he added.

Reshet Beth, however, reported that 60 Egyptian soldiers died in the assault by Waliyat Sinai. The Israeli radio station said that the Egyptian government was trying to deflate the number of dead soldiers to avoid the impression that the army is losing the war against ISIS in Sinai. AP later confirmed the Reshet Beth report and reported that in total, 64 Egyptian soldiers were killed by the terrorists. Thirty-eight terrorists also died in the fighting.

Ever since the Egyptian army ousted the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohammed Morsi, Islamists in Sinai have escalated their attacks on Egyptian security personnel. At least 670 soldiers and policemen have died in the fighting so far.

The situation in Egypt further deteriorated after the assassination of the state prosecutor (Attorney General), Hisham Barakat, in Cairo on Monday. Barakat was hated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Wayilat Sinai for the prosecution of thousands of Islamists since the ouster of the Morsi regime in 2013.

Hours after his assassination, a wave of terror attacks hit Egyptian cities; and at the same time, Islamists in the Sinai launched a new offensive aimed at taking over the Peninsula.

There have been eyewitness reports saying that members of ISIS branch Waliyat Sinai are trying to take over villages and cities in Sinai and then raise their black flag on buildings.

Like the attacks that Islamic State staged last Friday, the assault on Egypt has been predicted by both Islamic State and the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

ISW published a report on June 7 in which it predicted that ISIS would execute a ‘mass casualty attack’ in Tunisia during Ramadan. Egypt was one of the countries in the Middle East that would be targeted during the Muslim holy month, ISW experts predicted. They based their predictions on articles that were published on ISIS’ website and on what ISIS members wrote on social media.

Image credit: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Image credit: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Other countries Islamic State has announced as targets during Ramadan are England (where an ISIS plot for a terror attack was foiled last week), France (which was attacked last Friday), Italy, Spain, Caucuses in southern Russia, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Egypt (attacked today), Yemen (also attacked last week), Afghanistan (ISIS has seized large swaths of territory from the Taliban over the past week), Pakistan, and the United States.

The goal is to capitalize on religious tensions and war to plunge a large part of the world into chaos by July 18, which marks the end of Ramadan. ISIS has sleeper cells in many countries and has now ordered these cells to become operative. In other countries, Muslim citizens who joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq and have now returned home will operate as lone gunmen in the coming weeks.

ISIS also published a new video today in which it threatened Hamas in Gaza and Israel.

A masked member of the group said: “We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you (Hamas) and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be overrun by our creeping multitudes.”

The release of the video came hours after Yoram Cohen, the head of Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet, informed the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that “Hamas is losing control over the Gaza Strip and its ability to govern there is eroding.”

“One of the challenges Hamas is dealing with is the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following the destruction caused during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. A major component of which is the lack of foreign funding due to infighting between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority over control of border crossings,” Cohen said according to Ynet News.

In reaction to the ISIS threat, Israel decided to close the border crossings with Gaza and Egypt except for the crossing in Taba in south Israel.

This article first appeared at Western Journalism.Com