An Israeli security centre has requested that the US administration give emergency aid to Egypt in a bid to save the regime of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
The Institute for National Security Studies in Israel called upon the Trump administration to aid the Egyptian government in tackling Daesh militants in the Sinai in its latest report published this week. Professor Yoram Schweitzer and Dr Ofir Winter from Tel Aviv University specifically stressed the need to provide the army with weapons, intelligence and field consultations.
“Support from the United States in the form of Tweets from President Trump is insufficient. An organised US effort to provide essential assistance is needed, including specific equipment for counterterrorism (for example IED detectors), intelligence, and operational and intelligence consulting to take advantage of the United States’ experience in fighting the Islamic State in other arenas,” the report read.
The study highlighted gaps in Egypt’s security services and called for the introduction of a specialist unit to tackle the situation in the Sinai, without harming civilians, warning that locals would otherwise be encouraged to join the militants.
“The regime’s success in enlisting cooperation on the part of the locals against the terrorist infrastructure in Sinai will determine Egypt’s success in the campaign against the Islamic State and its affiliates.”
So far no group has claimed responsibility; however witnesses reported that militants were carrying flag of Daesh’s description.
Following the bloody attack, social media activists have criticised Al-Sisi for his “failure to provide the security to Egypt despite all the powers and authorities he had obtained.”
Egypt has been battling a Daesh insurgency since mid-2013, when Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, was ousted and imprisoned in a military coup. Since then, hundreds of Egyptian security personnel have been killed in attacks across Sinai, especially in the peninsula’s volatile north-eastern quadrant, which shares borders with both Israel and the besieged Gaza Strip.
Friday’s attack was a shift for Sinai militants who have mostly focused on targeting police and soldiers on the peninsula. Since December 2016 they have also begun hitting Coptic Christian churches and pilgrims on the mainland.
Israel fears the waning popularity of Al-Sisi who is preparing to run for a second term as president but has so far failed to deliver on his promise of peace and prosperity for the Egyptian people.