January 2015 Sinai attacks

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January 2015 Sinai attacks is located in Sinai
Arish
Arish
Sheikh Zuweid
Sheikh Zuweid
Rafah
Rafah
Location on the Sinai Peninsula of the three cities attacked in January 2015 by Wilayat Sinai.

On 29 January 2015, militants from the ISIL-affiliated Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) militant group launched a series of attacks on army and police bases in Arish using car bombs and mortars.[3] The attacks, which occurred in more than six different locations, resulted in 44 deaths.[1]

Attacks[edit]

Militants launched simultaneous assaults involving mortars and car bombs on security facilities in the North Sinai towns of El-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, targeting the army's Battalion 101 following the North Sinai curfew hours that began after 7 pm and ended at 6 am.[4][2] In Al-Arish, police offices and an army base were the first targets hit, followed by a military-owned hotel which sustained heavy rocket attacks, then came the car bomb explosion at the rear gate of the army base. A number of security checkpoints were also hit later in the day, including one south of the city and one in Rafah.[5][6] The Sheikh Zuweid attack involved the Al-Zohor military camp, which was hit by mortar shells.[2] Residents of the Sinai and the Egyptian state news media reported that the attackers had used multiple car bombs and mortars against their targets.[7]

Security response[edit]

Egyptian warplanes bombed militant targets in the region where the attacks took place.[8] The following day Apache helicopters also launched air raids on alleged militant spots.[9] It was also reported that on 6 February 2015 Egyptian security forces launched an attack, killing 47 Islamic militants in Northern Sinai.[10]

Casualties[edit]

44 people were killed overall.[1] Wilayat Sinai, however, released a statement where it said that "hundreds" were killed, a claim that was rejected by the military which said that the numbers will not be announced.[2] Estimates of the wounded range from 62[6] to over a hundred.[11]

Most of the casualties were a result of the first attacks on the hotel and military base,[12] during which 25 people were killed, including nine civilians, and more than 58 were wounded.[13]

Damage[edit]

Parts of the Al-Arish National Museum, which holds numerous artifacts and paintings from ancient times, were destroyed during the bombings, including the main front and one of the sides of the building which later collapsed as a result. However, the head of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of State of Antiquities, Ahmad Sharaf, confirmed that none of the museum's antiques were harmed during the incident.[14]

Government newspaper Al-Ahram said that one of its offices, which is opposite to the hotel and base that were hit, was completely destroyed during the attacks. It is unclear, however, whether the office was a target of the assault or not.[15][5]

Responsibility[edit]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant linked militant group Wilayat Sinai, formerly known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis until it pledged allegiance to ISIL in November 2014,[16] claimed responsibility for the attacks on an affiliated Twitter account.[17] Wilayat Sinai said that the incidents were part of a series of attacks that they had dubbed "We Swear We Will Revenge", which the group dedicated to "avenge for women and girls" held in government prisons.[2]

Reactions[edit]

Domestic

In response to the attacks, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was attending the African Union summit in Ethiopia at the time, cut short his visit and returned to Egypt. Sisi ordered the establishment of a "unified command to combat terrorism" in the Sinai Peninsula and put Osama Askar, commander of the Third Field Army, in charge of the command after promoting him to lieutenant-general. Sisi's decree was announced by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).[18] During a meeting between Sisi and the SCAF, plans have been discussed to combat the "qualitative development of terrorist operations in Sinai," despite "the success of daily strong blows to terrorist hotbeds". After the meeting, Sisi made a live address to the nation, where he said: "I am ready to die [for Egypt]... and meet God for what I have done". He also hinted back at the period before the 2013 protests and ouster of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, claiming he had spoken with a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who allegedly told him that people would come "from all around the world" to fight him.[19]

International

The African Union,[20] Organisation of Islamic Cooperation,[21] United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council condemned the attacks,[22] along with the governments of Bahrain,[23] China,[24] Cyprus, Hungary,[20] Indonesia,[25] Iran,[26] Italy,[20] Jordan,[24] Kuwait,[27] Lebanon,[24] Morocco,[20] the Palestinian Authority, Russia,[24] Saudi Arabia,[23] Singapore,[28] Syria,[20] Tunisia,[24] the United Arab Emirates,[23] the United Kingdom[29] and the United States.[30]

Furthermore, Hassan Firouzabadi, top commander of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said that the attackers were "helping the Zionist occupiers". "The Islamic forces are deployed in Sinai desert to prevent the Zionists’ aggression on Muslim territories, including the strategic Sinai Peninsula, and attacking them is a foolish act.", Firouzabadi said.[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Security imperatives in Sinai". Al-Ahram Weekly. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Zaki, Menna; El-Fekki, Amira; Mostafa, Mahmoud (31 January 2015). "'State of Sinai' claim hundreds of killings in Sinai attacks". Daily News Egypt. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  3. ^ Kingsley, Patrick; Abdo, Manu (30 January 2015). "At least 32 killed in Egypt as militants attack army and police targets in Sinai". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Intensifying pre-emptive attacks needed in Sinai: Analysts". Daily News Egypt. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Egypt military targeted in deadly Sinai attacks". BBC. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Car bomb, rockets kill 26 in Egypt's Sinai". The Borneo Post. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  7. ^ Kirkpatrick, David (30 January 2015). "Bomb Attacks at Security Sites in Sinai Kill at Least 26". New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  8. ^ Okbi, Yasser; Hashavua, Maariv (31 January 2015). "Report: Egyptian warplanes bomb Islamist terror bases in Sinai after deadly attacks". Reuters. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  9. ^ "Egypt Apache helicopters raid Sinai after deadly attacks". Middle East Eye. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  10. ^ Reuters, 6 February 2015: Egyptian military kills 47 militants in the Sinai
  11. ^ "At least 26 killed, over 100 wounded in North Sinai deadly attacks". Ahram Online. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  12. ^ Fick, Maggie (30 January 2015). "Egypt's Sisi cuts short Ethiopia visit after 30 killed in Sinai". Aswat Masriya. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Islamic State's Egypt wing claims credit for terror attacks that killed 27". The Jerusalem Post. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Al-Arish National Museum damaged in Sinai attacks". Daily News Egypt. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Report: 6 dead, Egyptian state newspaper office destroyed in Sinai attack". The Jerusalem Post. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Egypt attack: Profile of Sinai Province militant group". BBC News. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  17. ^ "Egyptian military says it will intensify offensive against terrorism". Ahram Online. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  18. ^ "Egypt's President Establishes Unified Command To Combat Terrorism In Sinai". Egyptian Streets. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  19. ^ "'I Am Ready To Die For Egypt' Declares President Sisi". Egyptian Streets. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  20. ^ a b c d e "World condemns terrorist attacks in Sinai". State Information Service. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  21. ^ "OIC condemns N. Sinai dealy attack". Kuwait News Agency. 31 January 2015. Archived from the original on 2 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  22. ^ "Ban, Security Council condemn terrorist attacks in Egypt's Sinai peninsula". UN News Center. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  23. ^ a b c "Islamic Countries Fully Condemn Terrorist Attack in Sinai". Prensa Latina. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  24. ^ a b c d e "UN condemns Sinai attack, offers condolences". The Cairo Post. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Indonesia condemns terrorist attack in Egypt`s Sinai Peninsula". Antara. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Iran Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Egypt's North Sinai". Tasnim News Agency. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  27. ^ "Kuwait condemns terrorist attacks in Egypt's Sinai". Kuwait News Agency. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  28. ^ "Singapore condemns militant attacks in Egypt's Sinai". The Straits Times. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Foreign Secretary condemns terrorist attacks in North Sinai". Gov.uk. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  30. ^ "US condemns deadly attacks in Egypt's Sinai". Yahoo News. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  31. ^ "Attacks on Sinai directly serve Israel, Iran's top general says". Tehran Times. 31 January 2015. Archived from the original on 1 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.