The coordinated attacks Wednesday in the northern Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 70 Egyptian soldiers raised questions both about the effectiveness of the government's tactics to contain the burgeoning Islamist insurgency there as well as the evolution of militant groups aligned with the so-called Islamic State.
The dozen or more attacks were the most sophisticated and challenging to the Egyptian state in Sinai, or anywhere else in the country for that matter, for decades.
President been Sisi's since coming to power two years ago, the situation in Sinai is getting to the point where it might be appropriate to describe it as a full-blown insurgency.
Approximately 64 Egyptian soldiers and police officers have been killed in a multi-prong attack at five checkpoints in the Sinai Peninsula, with approximately 70 terrorists were involved
We are under siege, the militants didn’t storm inside it so far, or else I wouldn’t be speaking to you right now,” Colonel Mohamed Soliman told Daily News Egypt from inside Sheikh Zuweid police station on Wednesday.
A North Sinai resident said that the attacks, which all occurred at the same time, were some of “the biggest in Sheikh Zuweid”. He added that the Sheikh Zuweid police station was surrounded by militants on Wednesday morning, he said the ambulances carrying the injured and the deaths are unable to move as they are trapped in the area of Sheikh Zuweid police station.
It was second high-profile action in Egypt this week. On Monday, the prosecutor-general was killed in a car bombing in Cairo, raising questions about the government's ability to contain the insurgency.