Russia delivered the Antey-2500 anti-ballistic missile system to Egypt last year and is currently training local experts to use the missiles, a senior official in Moscow said.
“Egypt has been very interested in air defence systems,” said Vladimir Kozhin, presidential aide for military technical cooperation.
“Last year, we fulfilled our full commitments under the contract to supply Egypt with Antey-2500 anti-ballistic missile system.”
The Russian official pointed out Egyptian experts are currently being trained to operate the system adding that “negotiations are currently underway to send additional patches” the Sputnik news agency reported.
Antey-2500 anti-ballistic missile system is the latest version of the S-300VM air defence missile systems.
Since the military removed former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, violence has significantly increased in North Sinai, an underdeveloped and long-marginalized governorate that borders Israel and Gaza. The extremist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which pledged allegiance to Daesh and renamed itself Sinai Province in November 2014, has established a stronghold in the area and waged a series of attacks on Egyptian police and armed forces there, in addition to targeting Christians and suspected collaborators. Since 2013, North Sinai has experienced at least 1,500 armed attacks, which have killed dozens of civilians and hundreds of members of the security forces, according to the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.
In response, Egypt has deployed more forces to the Sinai than at any time since the country’s 1973 war with Israel. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as defense minister orchestrated Morsi’s ouster, has repeatedly stated that Egypt is in a “state of war” and compared recent operations to the previous conflicts with Israel, in 1973 and 1967.
The counterterrorism campaign in North Sinai has been rife with abuses. Between July 2013 and August 2015, Egyptian authorities destroyed around half of the town of Rafah, on the border with the Gaza Strip, evicting thousands of families and demolishing at least 3,255 buildings. Dozens of families Human Rights Watch interviewed in 2016 and 2017 reported numerous arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings by Egyptian military and Interior Ministry forces.
Egypt has also been active in the unrest in Libya after Daesh attacked a group of civilian Coptic Christians a few months ago killing over 20 people in the Minya province. Cairo blamed Libya for allowing terrorists to leave the country and continue operations in Egypt particularly in their stronghold of Sinai.