The past week was marked by the commemorations of the 30 June uprising against former president Mohamed Morsi’s regime, and 3 July, the day of his ouster announced by the army. It was also marked by heavy attacks on Egypt’s authorities.
Four “terrorist organisations” executed nearly 32 attacks in Egypt over five days, according to non-governmental organisation (NGO) the Regional Center for Strategic Studies (RCSS) in a recent report, of which Daily News Egypt obtained a copy Sunday.
The report, titled “Terrorist attacks in 30 June anniversary”, covers the short period between 28 June to 2 July. It classifies ‘terrorist’ attacks as assassinations, suicide bombings and planting explosive devices.
On 29 June, Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat was killed when an explosive device exploded under his motorcade, a few minutes after he left his house. The incident was a shock for Egypt, after which President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi vowed to avenge Barakat’s death.
The days that followed were also marked by further attacks on police forces and bombings of vital installations.
Most importantly, and as the report noted, North Sinai remained the “most heated area in terms of terrorist attacks”. Last Wednesday, at least 17 soldiers died in a heavy attack, a number reported by state media to have increased to 21.
RCSS classified the groups behind the operations into four categories, on top of which came ‘State of Sinai‘, which previously swore allegiance to the so-called “Islamic State” (IS).
Moreover, RCSS referred to “the brigades of Hisham Al-Ashmawy”, who has been reported by private media to have been the mastermind behind Barakat’s murder. Al-Ashmawy was a former army officer currently providing military training to terrorist groups and “IS”.
Thirdly, RCSS accused Muslim Brotherhood members of forming terrorist cells, mostly carrying out low-level operations such as bombing electricity power stations and public institutions, as well as drive-by shootings of security personnel.
On a another note, RCSS established a fourth category named “the lone wolves”, to refer to members who belong to different militant groups and join together in limited numbers for specific operations.
“Those types are the reason why terrorism has geographically expanded and has become harder to trace and easier to escape security,” RCSS explained.
According to RCSS, terrorist groups used various tactics while striking such as diversification of weapons. The report observed that the North Sinai Abou El-Refai and Sedra checkpoints were attacked by heavy weapons and intensive shooting. Mines were planted on roads leading to the Sheikh Zuweid police station.
Bombs remain the most commonly used weapons by those groups such as in the targeting of Transport Authority staff in Al-Arish on the same day Barakat was assassinated, and other police stations in the following days across all governorates.
“On the other hand, ‘State of Sinai’ worked with untraditional armoury such as Kornet anti-tank missiles, anti-craft defenders, mortars, RPJs, which highlights the smuggling business happening through the borders of Sinai and Gaza,” RCSS stated.
However, the report maintained that Egyptian military forces were able to defeat terrorist groups and annul several of their operations before they occurred.
RCSS is a regionally based private and independent organisation, working in Cairo since 2012.