Eight civilians and two soldiers were killed in Egypt by militants from a Daesh affiliate group after a convoy of cement trucks from an army factory in the central Sinai Peninsula was ambushed.
According to security officials, Lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim Hussein Mohammed was killed in the attack near the town of Nakhl last night after militants from the group formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis stole weapons and burnt seven trucks.
The Sinai Peninsula has become a common place for attacks on security personnel after groups affiliated with Daesh have used the area to plan and carry out attacks.
The military insurgency has enabled a number of attacks on civilians 2013 military after democratically-elected President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in a military coup lead by current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
According to Al-Sisi, Daesh militants are coming into Egypt via Libya after the group’s defeat in their strongholds of Syria and Iraq. An increase in attacks has been noted recently in the country’s Western Desert region which borders volatile Libya.
Speaking at a news conference at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh this week, Al-Sisi said it was only “natural” that Daesh militants would flee to Libya as the country continues to become politically unstable.
“We must have the military capabilities that compensate for that imbalance in the region and to counter terrorism,” he said. “This is a threat not just faced by us, but also by Europe.”
According to Al-Sisi the “strategic imbalance” caused by the regional turmoil has forced Egypt to build up its military in recent years where the country has spent more than $10 billion since 2014.
The expenditure has been criticised as Egypt’s economy continues to struggle since the uprising in 2011. Egypt has since secured a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in order to bolster its reform efforts which it is using on top of its $1.3 billion a year in US military aid.
“We must have the military capabilities that compensate for that imbalance in the region and to counter terrorism,” Al-Sisi explained this week.
There are no numbers for the number of militants fighting Egyptian security forces but according to experts the number is in the low thousands.