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المنتدى العربي للعلوم العسكرية
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COUNTER-TERRORISM MEASURES IN THE SINAI PENINSULA التقرير الخاص بالإرهاب في سيناء باللغتين العربية

المشاركات الموصى بها

 

 

Sinaï

 

Report

________

September 2017

 

COUNTER-TERRORISM MEASURES IN

 

THE SINAI PENINSULA

 

BASSEM A. YOUSSEF EL-TELAWY

 

&

 

AHMED A. MOHAMMED NOOR El-DIN

 

2

COUNTER-TERRORISM MEASURES IN

 

THE SINAI PENINSULA

 

BASSEM A. YOUSSEF EL-TELAWY

 

&

 

AHMED A. MOHAMMED NOOR El-DIN

 

 

 

FOREWORD

 

This report seeks to propose a different perspective of the conflict than that presented

by the media and classic analysis. Following long research and collection of

testimonies from local sources, this report will attempt to depict an image of the

 

security situation [in the Sinai] which close to the reality.

 

 

 

Introduction

 

The Sinai Peninsula covers an area of 60,088 square kilometers. Its topography varies from

north to south and from east to west. The central region is home to chains of mountainous

areas, valleys, plateaus, and sand dunes.

The north differs in that it has vast areas used for agriculture and dense vegetation making it

similar to a forest in some locations, while in others, the north seems like a mostly open, bare

land with no features except sand dunes.

 

__________

 

The Sinai has been a scene of terrorist operations for more than thirteen years. The first

signs erupted in October 2004, when a series of simultaneous explosions targeted the resort

cities of Taba and Nuweiba resulting in casualties among both foreign tourists and Egyptian

citizens. In the aftermath of the attack several anonymous groups claimed responsibility but

the most credible claim was that of Kataib (brigades) Abdullah Azzam.

This group, Abdullah Azzam Brigades, is known to be one of the branches of al-Qaeda,

which carried out operations in Egypt, the Arabian Gulf and the Levant. As for its name,

the group is attributed to Abdullah Azzam, Palestinian national and member of the Muslim

Brotherhood, and one of the most prominent militant leaders in Afghanistan at the time of

the Soviet occupation. He was killed on November 24th, 1989 with his sons Mohammed

and Ibrahim, after his car was blown up in a mysterious assassination.

After Taba and Nuweiba explosions the Egyptian security forces launched an operation to

track down the perpetrators. They succeeded in arresting a number of elements involved in

the planning and execution of the attacks.

Several other terrorist attacks targeted the Sinai in the following two years. The resort city of

Sharm el-Sheikh fell victim to another series of bombings on July 23rd, 2005. The city's old

market and the Mövenpick Hotel were targeted simultaneously with two improvised

explosive devices; a car bomb and an explosive device stored in a backpack. The Naama

Bay resort was struck by a suicide bomber in a rigged truck as well.

The attack claimed the lives of 88 people and left over 200 injured, the majority of whom

were Egyptians. Kataib Abdullah Azzam claimed responsibility for the attack.

As for 2006, three explosions shook the resort city of Dahab on April 24th, Killing 23 and

injuring 62 people, the majority of which were again Egyptian.

Although various groups were linked to or claimed responsibility for these attacks one name

was repeatedly involved. The infamous Tawheed and Jihad were always either directly

5

 

linked or thought to be associated in some capacity. The organization was founded in the

nineties by Khaled Mas'ed. Mas'ed was killed in 2005 near the village of Mahdya south of

Rafah as a result of security operations that followed the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings.

Tawheed and Jihad are still linked to terrorism in the Sinai today, almost three decades after

their foundation. Their influence on operations and groups throughout the years can lend

credence to the claim that they are the origin of all contemporary terrorist activity in the

Sinai. The prison breaks around the 25th of January Revolution and the following security

collapse had allowed several imprisoned Tawheed and Jihad members to escape. Naturally

they returned to the Sinai and began the creation of new organizations. These new groups

began operating as early as late 2011 and throughout 2012 by sabotaging gas pipelines,

launching cross border raids, and carrying out the first mass casualty attack on an Egyptian

Border Guards position. Their operations continued in 2013 and ramped up after the 30th

of June Revolution. They really began to assert their presence after the formation of the

Mujahideen Shura Council in Aknaf Beit al-Maqdiss which eventually went on to form

Ansar Beit al-Maqdiss which swore allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014 after a brutal

attack on a security forces checkpoint at Karm al-Kawades.

 

6

 

PROMINENT TERROR ATTACKS IN NORTHERN SINAI

____________________________________________________

 

Karm al-Kawades attack

 

Location: Karm al-Kawades southeast of al-

Arish City southwest of Sheikh Zuweid City

 

Date: October 25, 2014

Event: Attack on Karm al-Kawades military

checkpoint

The attack on the Karm al-Kawades

checkpoint is considered a turning point for

terrorist operations in Northern Sinai, it

signified a radical shift in the nature of these

operations on the ground since it was the

first to emulate the guerrilla tactics

developed on the Iraqi and Syrian grounds.

The attack was carried out in three phases:

- The initial phase included the use of a

Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised

Explosive Device (SVBIED) in the form of

a truck loaded with hundreds of kilograms

of high explosive material packed in to

shrapnel creating metal containers. The

result was an explosion which destroyed the

majority of the checkpoint's defensive

preparations and positions. This was then

followed by mortar and machine gun fire to

neutralize the checkpoint for the second

phase; the assault.

- The assault was carried out by couple

dozen infantrymen equipped with small and

medium arms using 4x4 vehicles and

motorcycles to advance and maneuver

around the checkpoint in order to flank and

kill remaining soldiers, most of whom were

injured as a result of the first phase.

- The third phase was the exploitation of the

location followed by looting of ammunition

and weapons before withdrawal.

 

In coordination with the previous three

phases an additional group of militants was

tasked with cutting off reinforcement by

placing road side Improvised Explosive

Devices (IEDs) and engaging with Quick

Reaction Force (QRF) elements on the main

supply route to the Karm al-Kawades

checkpoint.

This was the first attack of its kind in

Northern Sinai, hence it is safe to presume

that these tactics, their planning and

preparation, were reliant on foreign

expertise. It is also of note to point out that

Egyptian forces were not expecting this type

of attack and therefore were not adequately

prepared. 29 Egyptian soldiers were

martyred in this attack, and others injured.

 

October 2014 is the effective date that

terrorist operations transitioned from relative

randomness to organized efforts which were

thoroughly planned and appropriately

prepared for in terms of weapons,

equipment, and tactics.

 

7

Amount of weapons and explosives seized with

terrorists involved in Karm al-Kawades attack

 

In response to the attack the Armed Forces

took serious steps towards further

mobilization in the region and consolidation

of its presence in areas affected by terrorist

activity, based on a lengthy multi-stage plan.

This plan included the deployment of

additional forces and units from the 2nd

Army to Northern Sinai and from the 3rd

Army to Central Sinai.

One likes to refer to this as the installation

period, as several military checkpoints were

set up to spread the forces' presence and

control on the ground, while working in

tandem with a network of other military

checkpoints to deny the terrorists movement

on main supply routes, secondary routes, and

trails.

During this period Northern Sinai witnessed

several major operations which are outlined

hereafter with relevant publicly available

information.

Attack on the Battalion 101

Location: al-Dahiya Neighborhood al-Arish

City

Date: January 29, 2015

Event: Attacks on the 101st Battalion, North

Sinai Security Directorate, and Armed

Forces Hotel

The operation started at 06:45 by targeting

the 101st Battalion and Armed Forces Hotel

by mortar fire to facilitate the use of a

SVBIED water tanker. The water tanker was

rigged with several hundred kilograms of

high explosive materials in addition to a

large quantity of petroleum and metal

fragments. The intended result was the

creation of an explosion with an enormous

amount of concussive force, fire, and

shrapnel.

The SVBIED penetrated the 101st

Battalions camp gate and detonated causing

 

a great deal of human and material loss.

This detonation was followed by a second

when a terrorist used a rigged micro-bus and

explosive belt which compounded the losses.

In coordination with the attack on the 101st

and Hotel a third SVBIED targeted the

nearby Security Directorate resulting in the

death of several perimeter security guards

and causing heavy damage to the site.

The total amount of explosives used in the

operation between three SVIEDs was in the

range of 10 tons.

More than 30 Egyptian soldiers and security

forces were martyred in the attack while

injuring more than 80 others.

 

02/04 Attack

Location: S h e i k h Z u w e i d C i t y -

International Road al-Arish Rafah

Date: April 2 , 2015

Event: Attack on Abidat checkpoint and

Qabr Emir checkpoint west of Sheikh

Zuweid City

At 04:00 three coordinated attacks took

place across Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.

However, these were only meant as a

distraction from the terrorists' main effort; an

attack on the neighboring Abidat and Qabr

Emir checkpoints. The Qabr Emir

checkpoint was at the time fairly new, having

been erected only 15 days prior to the attack.

The relatively older Abidat checkpoint was

situated 2-3 km away.

The Abidat checkpoint attack:

The checkpoint came under a ferocious

attack by terrorist elements just after 4am.

The attackers were numerically superior to

the forces stationed there; 22 soldiers

including one Officer (Lieutenant

Mohammed Desouki) and one NCO. The

8

 

terrorists used four vehicles mounted with

heavy machine guns and mortar teams.

The checkpoint itself was split into several

sectors across a relatively large area. The

coordinated terrorist attack flanked the

forces and attacked from all directions.

A firefight ensued for more than an hour

between the checkpoint forces and the

attacking terrorists. Eventually the remaining

terrorists and soldiers were engaged in close

quarters as the attackers used the areas

terrain to breach the checkpoint's perimeter.

Eventually the attackers were able to breach

inside the checkpoint, at which point the

 

exchange turned into a game of cat and

mouse. After a while the exchanges claimed

the life of Lieutenant Mohamed Desouki,

commander of the checkpoint, to a gun shot

wound. The attack had martyred sixteen of

the 22 soldiers stationed in the checkpoint,

with the remaining six eventually retreating

to a protective bunker for cover and to

return fire.

The remaining six returned fire from within

the bunker but were low on ammunition,

sharing only four magazines among them.

The terrorists continued to attack the

remaining six soldiers at one point even

throwing two grenades into the bunker.

9

 

1. Location of Karm al-Kawades attack

2. Qabr Emir checkpoint

3. al-Abidat checkpoint

4. al-Bawaba checkpoint

5. Sheikh Zuweid Police Department

 

6. Abu Tawila checkpoint

7. Sidot checkpoint

8. Abu Rifai checkpoint

9. Sidra Abu al-Hagag checkpoint

 

However, they were unable to cause further

casualties. The soldiers continued to

cautiously survey and shoot in order to

preserve ammunition until they were

reinforced.

An important point is that the reinforcing

Apache helicopters that were on scene to

provide close air support were hit by terrorist

heavy machine guns, which eventually forced

them to return to base. Instead fast jets were

deployed to engage with the terrorists and

they were able to destroy a couple of their

vehicles.

The firefight with the checkpoint had killed

20 terrorists not including those killed by

subsequent air operations.

The Qabr Emir checkpoint:

The forces stationed at the checkpoint were

able to repel the attacking terrorists causing

several fatalities and casualties among them.

Battle of Sheikh Zuweid

Location: Sheikh Zuweid

Date: July 1st, 2015

Event: Large and coordinated attack on

multiple checkpoints

In the largest confrontation of the conflict,

otherwise known as the battle of Sheikh

Zuweid. On the first of July 2015 Sinai

Province attempted a demonstration of force

seeking to control the city.

At 06:45 the first mortar shell exploded,

targeting a military position in the village of

al-Gorah, lead at the time by Lieutenant

Colonel Haroun. The mortar bombardment

continued using various calibers in order to

suppress the position’s ability to provide

artillery support to Sheikh Zuweid and

Rafah, in total over 20 mortar rounds

targeted the installation.

 

At 07:00 coordinated SVBIED attacks were

launched simultaneously targeting the

perimeters of the Sidra Abu al-Hagag and

Abu Rifai military positions. At the same

time groups of militants targeted positions

across Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid in order to

pin a large number of troops in their

positions, making it difficult for the Armed

Forces to counter the main efforts in Sidra

Abu al-Hagag and Abu Rifai.

The following checkpoints were targeted

throughout the day: al-Masora, Sidot, Waley

Lafi, al-Wafaq, Abu Tawila, al-Daraib,

 

Garada, al-Isaf, Qabr Emir, al-Abidat, al-

Wahshy, al-Shalaq, al-Bawaba, Sheikh

 

Zuweid Police Department and al-Kharuba.

In parallel, groups of militants infiltrated

S h e i k h Z u w e i d C i t y m o u n t e d o n

motorcycles and 4x4 vehicles. They planted

road side IEDs while moving through the

 

city to disrupt any reinforcement from the al-

Zohur military camp.

 

Back in Abu Rifai and Sidra Abu al-Hagag,

following the SVBIED attacks, fierce

firefights erupted with dozens of militants

using small to medium arms and mortar

teams.

The firefight moved in to just meters away

from the perimeter of the checkpoints, with

militants scaling rooftops to engage with

10

Vehicles used by the militants destroyed in the Battle

 

of Sheikh Zuweid

 

small arms alongside vehicles mounted with

heavy machine guns in order to suppress the

forces stationed there, in preparation for the

advance of assaulting infantry. However, the

forces halted a series of assaults and caused a

large number of casualties among the

militants.

Fast jets and attack helicopters reinforcement

provided close air support, targeting

militants and their vehicles which

compounded their losses, in addition to

freeing the al-Gorah checkpoint which

enabled it to conduct fire missions and use its

artillery, adding to the militants casualty

count as well.

Sinai Province's losses on that day were

estimated to be over 100 fighters from the

300 that took part in the operation. In

addition, they lost over 20 vehicles of various

types. By the end of the Egyptian counter

attack, that lasted several days, Sinai

Province had lost 253 fighters in total.

 

11

 

MARTYR’S RIGHT OPERATIONS

_____________________________________

 

After the attack on Sheikh Zuweid (July 1st,

2015) the Armed Forces began staging

comprehensive military operations under the

codename Martyr’s Right. It signaled the

start of a new strategy in Northern Sinai.

The operations were undertaken in phases,

each with its own set of goals.

What differentiates Martyr’s Right from

previous operations is the number and

composition of forces involved in continuous

offensive action over substantial periods of

time. Each stage would include the

establishment of new checkpoints and

military positions to deny militants free

movement and to divide the area of

operations into small boxes which could be

easily monitored and handled.

 

Martyr’s Right 1

The first phase of Martyrs Right was

launched at dawn on the 7th of September

and lasted for 14 days across the cities of

Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid, and al-Arich.

Forces targeted several villages associated

with terrorist activity on the outskirts of

Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, the most

 

prominent of which were al-Gorah, al-

Zawara, al-Mokatea, al-Fitat, al-Mahdya,

 

Naga Shabana, Sidot, al-Masora and al-

Mawosin.

 

In this campaign, the Forces established a

series of military checkpoints south of

 

Rafah, on the road between the village of al-

Masora and the entrance of Rafah and al-

Gorah village south of Sheikh Zuweid,

 

passing through al-Mahdya village south of

Rafah. This new series of checkpoints were

named ‘Easar’ and aimed to monitor and

deny movement to takfiri elements.

At the end of the first phase of operations,

the Armed Forces invited media to visit the

city of al-Arich and hosted them at the 101st

Battalion's HQ. They were briefed on the

goals of Martyrs Right, what was achieved,

and what was confiscated.

 

Martyr’s Right 2

They were also informed that the second

phase of Martyrs Right had been launched

as a follow up to the first phase. It aimed to

deal preemptive blows to militants planning

attacks on military positions and to

consolidate the gains made during the first

phase of operations.

In March of 2016 a series of coordinated

raids were launched by elements from the

2nd and 3rd Armies targeting areas far south

 

of Sheikh Zuweid (al-Gorah, Sahara al-

Gamei, Kilo 17, Kilo 21, and al-Bers).

 

- The raids identified and destroyed several

hideouts used to provide logistic support to

terrorists, including the provision of rations,

fuel, and material used in the construction of

IEDs.

- During the operation a group of militants

were spotted at the Kilo 21 point, preparing

to attack a military position in the area.

12 Refer to the map p. 17

 

However, a series of Air Force strikes foiled

their plans and lead to the death of several

of their fighters and the destruction of

several vehicles.

- The ground and air campaign launched by

the Armed Forces also allowed 17 hostages

held by Sinai Province to escape.

The second phase of Martyrs Right also

included several special operations

targeting Sinai Province leadership.

- Mohamed Nasser Abu Shahwan was

killed in an air strike. He was the leader of

 

Sinai Province in Abu Tawila, al-Akour, al-

Shahawin, and al-Sidra.

 

- Towards the end of March forces from

the 3rd Army were able to neutralize

Mohamed Nasser Madan (Abu Madan).

Forces raided his hideout in Wadi al-Lesan,

Central Sinai. Upon arrival the forces

engaged with militants attempting to cover

Abu Madan’s escape. The target

temporarily evaded the military by fleeing

in a vehicle but after dealing with his

protection team the forces pursued and

neutralized him.

- In April forces from the 3rd Army

successfully neutralized Maher Mohammed

Ali Salem in the village of Khariza, Central

Sinai.

- Forces from the 3rd Army were also

successful in neutralizing Ali Atallah Salama

and Ramadan Salama Ratima, aides to the

infamous Sinai Province leader Mohamed

Moussa Mohsen who was killed shortly after

in an air strike targeting a cave in the

mountainous Wadi al-Lesan in Central

Sinai, after lengthy operations to track him.

- Near the end of the second phase of the

operation the Armed Forces dealt perhaps

the largest blow at the time to Sinai

Province. A large congregation of militants

 

were monitored south of al-Arich, which

lead to a series of air strikes that successfully

destroyed an ammunition dump, eliminated

45 militants, and more importantly killed the

Emir of Sinai Province Abu Dua al-Ansari

and several of his aides.

 

Martyr’s Right 3

The third phase of Martyr’s Right began in

October 2016 and was the longest of the

three offensives, lasting over a month.

The third phase began with a series of

extensive patrols south of Rafah (al-Wafaq,

13

Locations of the airstrikes that lead to the death of Abu Du’a

 

al-Ansari south al-Arich

 

al-Hasainat, al-Ersal, Yamit, al-Balaa, and

Goz Ghanem), and the construction of new

permanent positions in those areas.

As operations South of Rafah came to an

end the Armed Forces moved towards the

Southwest of Sheikh Zuweid, beginning by

the Tarabin neighborhood and then moving

on to Sidra Abu al-Hagag, Abu al-Arag, and

finally al-Toma, where forces where able to

target several militant cells and destroy

several vehicles.

 

Three new military positions were

 

established on the supply routes between al-

Toma and the Tarabin neighborhood on the

 

outskirts of Sheikh Zuweid, with the aim of

preventing militants from infiltrating the city.

The series of positions were named ‘Rami’

in honor of Colonel Rami Hasenen who fell

martyred in action in the Sinai.

Another series of raids followed, targeting

 

areas southeast of Sheikh Zuweid (al-

Mokatea, al-Mahdya, and al-Akour). More

 

positions were established on the strategic al-

Sawalha Hill near al-Akour to track and

 

monitor militant movement.

Combined results of Martyrs Right:

- Killing of 500 terrorists

- Destruction of 250 targets (hideouts,

staging areas, ammunition dumps, IED

factories, logistic stores)

 

- Destruction of 130 different vehicles

 

Clearing Gabal (mountain) al-

Halal

 

Terrain: The mountain stretches across

60kms from east to west with a depth of

20km and an altitude of 1700m. It is littered

with caves and mountain paths, making it a

perfect safe haven for militants as well as

criminal elements.

The operation to clear the mountain was

split into three stages. The first was a

coordinated intelligence gathering process

in cooperation with local residents and

Bedouin tribes.

The second was the siege of the mountain

after intelligence identified all paths in or

out of the area. Supply routes in a

perimeter extending 3-5km around the

mountain were also heavily monitored.

The third phase was launched upon

confirmation that militants taking refuge in

the area were logistically depleted. In order

to achieve the best results, the assault defined

separate areas of responsibility with forces

tasked to search and clear each of them.

The operation lead to the killing of 18

militants and the arrest of 32 others.

29 motorcycles were seized, some of which

rigged with improvised explosives, in

addition to several caches of high explosives,

IED manufacturing material, and various

arms.

 

Martyr’s Right 4

On July 13th, 2017, Intel was received that

20 takfiri terrorists were holding a meeting in

a building in al-Balaa village, west of Rafah

14

 

Vehicle used by terrorist with a 14.5mm machine gun

destroyed during Martyr’s Right 3

 

city, not far from Dwar Selim district. The

Egyptian Air Force immediately launched a

precision strike targeting the meeting

location. All takfiri elements in the premises,

including a number of commanders, were

killed on the spot.

The fourth stage of Martyr’s Right was

launched on July 7th, 2017 upon reception

of intel on the locations of terrorist elements,

in remote areas south east of al-Arish city,

and south west of Sheikh Zuweid city.

This stage started with precision airstrikes

targeting multiple terrorist hideouts, meeting

points, and operational launching points.

The strikes were followed by a land

campaign aimed at sweeping the thick

 

vegetation cover south of al-Arish city, used

by the terrorists to hide away from the

Armed Forces.

The land campaign was both the largest and

longest, lasting over 14 days, during which

the military successfully disrupted the

communication and logistics network of

takfiris, locating and destroying over 76

terrorists hideout facilities, used as living

quarters and equipped with logistical

equipment, including communication

equipment, first aid kits, explosives, and

ammunition. The Armed Forces destroyed

over 100 improvised explosive devices (IED)

as well as 11 workshops used to manufacture

these IEDs.

 

15

 

Sheikh Zuweid - al-Gorah: ‘Zelzal’ checkpoints

al-Gorah - Rafah: ‘Easar’ checkpoints

Rafah - al-Arich International Road: ‘Nimr’ checkpoints

al-Toma - Sheikh Zuweid: ‘Rami’ checkpoints

 

A large number of weapons, ammunition,

and medical equipment have been seized as

well as a number of media centers, equipped

with laptops, video cameras, and other

media equipment.

During these operations, the Armed Forces

managed to eliminate 40 terrorists and

destroy 20 different types of vehicles, 4

motorcycles and 7 car bombs.

Simultaneously, the Armed Forces succeeded

in thwarting a terrorist counter attack by

remotely destroying an approaching

SVBIED south of al-Zohur district, then

eliminating terrorist elements awaiting to

launch an infantry attack after the explosion

of the SVBIED.

On August, 21st, 2017, a second land

campaign was launched in the localities west

of Rafah City, including: Yamit, al-Balaa,

East of al-Matla, North of Sidot, Al

 

Masoura, Ghoz Ghanem, Salah al-Din, al-

Ahrash, al-Hasainat.

 

The military established a new series of

checkpoints on all roads and paths out of the

area, to fully encircle terrorists and facilitate

monitoring, tracking, and targeting their

elements, to prevent any attempt to flee the

operation field through the surrounding

thick vegetation.

On August 23rd, 2017, a third land

campaign was launched. It targeted districts

and villages south of Rafah City, including:

al-Tayrah, Abu Helw, Goz Abu Raad, Naga

Sheibana, and outskirts of Mahdya village.

As well as the Southern district of Sheikh

Zuweid city.

 

The Army evacuated civilians from al-

Tayrah village to minimize any risk of

 

collateral damage due to the military

campaign and engagement with the

terrorists. The evacuation made possible a

door to door sweep operation of the village.

 

Simultaneously, the Army established a ring

 

of security checkpoints surrounding al-

Tayrah village, and Naga Sheibana, to fully

 

choke the terrorists therein, and foil any

attempts of their escape.

During these last two campaigns, the Army

was able to :

- Neutralize twenty one (21) Takfiri terrorists

- Destroy eleven (11) vehicles of various

types

- Discover and destroy three (3) Weapons

and ammunition warehouses

- Destroy over three hundred fifty (350)

explosive devices

- Destroy several terrorist surveillance and

hideout posts

Notably, one of the 21 terrorists neutralized

was a prominent commander, namely,

Awdah al-Hamadein, and his aids.

 

16

Workshop used to manufacture IEDs discovered during

 

Martyr’s Right 4

 

17

 

Map of the villages in Sheikh

Zuweid and Rafah

 

Conclusion

 

The terrorist activity in North Sinai has gone through various dynamics in recent years in

terms of strategy, attack organisations and even equipment. The launch of Martyr’s Right

campaign in 2015 marked a break in the war on terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula, with a

complete shift in the nature of operations undertaken either by the military or the militants.

Upon completion of this campaign, the Sinai Province faced constant pressure on its supply

routes and logistical support, as well as regular elimination of its leadership, and therefore

had to adapt. In 2016, despite their diversity and increasing numbers, terrorist attacks used

mainly IEDs and sniping, in an attempt to inflict heavy casualties within the security forces,

in contrast with more coordinated attacks on military checkpoints in 2014 and until the

Battle of Sheikh Zuweid on July 1st, 2015. The increase in number of these attacks during

2016 can be correlated with the multiplicity and longevity of counter-terrorism operations

aimed at paralyzing the movement of militants in the region. This correlation was

misperceived by many as a failure of Egyptian efforts in the war on terror. However, it must

be looked at from a different angle. The complexity of the situation on the ground and the

existence of several areas of operation with different strategic stakes and objectives led to the

lack of proper, evidence-based analysis. In fact, a poor knowledge of the geographical

distribution of villages and checkpoints, as well as a constant generalization of military

activities should be pinpointed as the reason behind this misreading.

Cooperation between the Armed Forces and Bedouins is another important factor to be

taken into account, even though it has not been mentioned in this report. Neglected in the

classical analysis of the conflict, this discreet cooperation was highlighted in 2015 by

 

dominant tribal figures such as the businessmen Ibrahim al-Argawi or Moussa al-Dalah al-

Tarabini with the aim of upscaling coordination between tribal forces and the government

 

in the war on terror. As a result, in the past two years, the Armed Forces and security

agencies have been able to build a true network of informants called ‘manadib’, enabling

effective intelligence-gathering in the areas of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and al-Arich. Today,

no terrorist infiltration can be carried out in the cities of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah without

the knowledge of the security forces. This volunteer-based network has repeatedly thwarted

terrorist attacks prior to their execution. Sinai Province’s response was the assassination of

nearly 300 civilians according to a press release of the group in 2016, and constant threats

followed by executions against civilians. The mere concern of the terrorist group with

Bedouins collaborating with the armed forces is a proof of the scale and effectiveness of

coordination between civilians and security forces in northern Sinai.

The first half of 2017 revealed Sinai Province’s decline with a fall in number of attacks in

the Northern of the Peninsula, media coverage disturbed following the confiscation of a

considerable number of cameras, laptops during the last operations. To avoid an imprecise

reading of the situation, here’s a number of villages that used to witness intensified terrorist

activity in the past but, following recent military operations, became out of reach of the

Sinai Province with no attacks reported in the past 10 months: Abu Tawila, al-Tarabin

Neighborhood, Dwar Najd, al-Gorah, Abu Rifai, al-Abidat, Qabr Emir, Karm al-Kawades,

al-Kharouba, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah Cities.

 

18

 

Moreover, the strengthening of security cooperation between Egyptian authorities and

Hamas has allowed an increasingly effective control at the border, and in particular of the

smuggling tunnels leading into Rafah that have served as a main supply route and shelter for

the militants over the past years. This reconciliation, which could not be expected by any

analysts a year ago, has indeed culminated in the establishment of a buffer zone in Gaza

along the Egyptian border, with the aim of monitoring the borders and preventing

infiltration and smuggling into the Sinai, from the Palestinian side.

Meanwhile, in order to adapt to the new situation, Sinai Province was forced to adopt new

dynamics. The recent attacks at al-Bers and Bir al-Abd were conducted in areas with no

relevant security presence, having experienced very little to no terrorist activity in the past.

These two attacks were evidently due to the fact that militants could no longer carry out

 

such operations in their original area of activity, which is the triangle Sheikh Zuweid - al-

Gorah and Rafah.

 

Although terrorist activity is sharply declining, military operations are far from over, and

further confrontations are expected in the future with the adoption of new methods and

strategies.

 

 

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قريتة بالكامل تقرير فوق الممتاز واحترافي فعلا والشباب دول انا متابعهم ع تويتر وبيعملو دور جيدا جدا في توصيل المعلومات دي للعالم

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تقرير اكثر من ممتاز ومجهود رائع من المسئولون عن هذا التقرير والاهم ايضا انه مترجم الى اللغة الانجليزية وادعو جميع الاعضاء الى الاطلاع على هذا التقرير الاكثر من ممتاز والذي يسرد العمليات التي حدثت ودور جيشنا العظيم للتصدي لهذه العناصر الارهابية

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