Affiliates of Daesh have reportedly called on fighters to orchestrate attacks during next month’s presidential elections in Egypt.
In a 23-minute video shared on social media yesterday, Welayet Sinai threatened to disrupt the presidential election due to take place 26-28 March.
The United States and Egypt have reaffirmed their support to target Daesh and other militants in the Middle East following talks held by Egyptian officials with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Speaking with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukri, Tillerson confirmed that productive discussions on regional security and the struggle against Daesh had taken place, and reiterated Egypt’s important role in the anti-Daesh coalition.
“We agreed that we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures, including our joint commitment to the defeat of [Daesh],” Tillerson explained.
“We highly value this relationship and we thank the United States for what it presents to Egypt in terms of support, which benefits both countries,” Shoukri added.
Tillerson’s visit comes in the middle of a military operation by Egypt in the Sinai against Islamist extremists who have been leading an insurgency there for years and orchestrated several attacks against security forces and civilians since 2013.
Egypt’s security situation has deteriorated considerably since President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi came to power in a military coup in 2013 that overthrew the country’s first democratically-elected President Mohammed Morsi.
Alert levels have heightened in recent days due to the new offensive. The operation was announced in a televised statement by army spokesman Colonel Tamer Al-Rifai and began on Friday in the north and central of the Sinai Peninsula as well as the Nile Delta and Western Desert against “terrorist and criminal elements and organisations”.
Since the operation began, ten militants have been killed and 400 suspects have been arrested, Egyptian security officials said.