ISIS attacks a strategic facility in Sinai – Significance and possible implications

On the morning of May 7, 2022, a group of operatives of ISIS’s Sinai Province attacked a military post securing a water pumping facility in the northwestern Sinai Peninsula, about 26 km east of the Suez Canal. According to the Egyptian army spokesman, the Egyptian security forces thwarted an attack by Salafist-jihadi operatives directed at the facility. An officer and 16 soldiers were killed.

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Egypt (the Arab Republic of Egypt) is the most populous country in the Arab world, and the third most populous country in Africa. Egypt is located in the northeastern corner of Africa, on the Mediterranean coast in the north and on the Red Sea in the east. In the northeast, Egypt borders on Israel and the Gaza Strip, in the west, on Libya and in the south, on Sudan.

Relations between Israel and Egypt have undergone many upheavals over the years. These relations have gone from hostility and war through a peace treaty to the existence of full but chilly diplomatic relations. A dramatic development in the relations between the two countries occurred in November 1977 with the visit of then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Israel and his speech in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Two years after the visit, the peace treaty was signed. As part of this treaty, Israel withdrew from all of Sinai and the Israeli settlements that had been built there.

At the end of President Mubarak’s term in office, Egyptian security control in Sinai weakened. Thousands of tunnels between Sinai and Gaza were used for smuggling ammunition, missiles and weapons. The terrorist organizations began an attempt to destabilize the region by firing rockets from Sinai into Israel and Jordan. However, as long as stability in Egypt was maintained, the situation in Sinai remained relatively under control. After the coup in Egypt and the overthrow of Mubarak, the terrorist organizations in Sinai took advantage of the opportunity to undermine the security situation in the region and established the Sinai Province of the Islamic State, which Egyptian security forces are trying to fight. At the same time, relations between Egypt and the Hamas movement deteriorated, because Egypt perceives Hamas as an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip is perceived as a source of subversion and terrorism directed at Egypt.