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Wave of Violence Hits Sinai

Yael Rein

Egypt’s chief prosecutor charged 20 men belonging to the Ajnad Misr jihadist group on Saturday in connection with seven attacks that killed or wounded over 100 people. The move comes amid new clashes between Egyptian security and radical Islamists in Sinai.

Egyptian army soldiers stand guard on the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 5, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Anjad Misr, meaning “Soldiers of Egypt, is a terrorist organization that formed following the 2013 ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, targeting officials it deemed responsible for his overthrow. The group has claimed responsibility over 15 attacks in the Cairo area since November, including several bomb attacks that around the Egyptian presidential palace. Currently, 14 of the indicted members are in custody while the six others are still at large.

The prosecutor’s charges on Saturday come as new violence from Islamic extremists claimed more lives in Sinai this weekend. On Friday, gunman killed two police officers in Sheikh Zuweid, a region in North Sinai close to the border of Israel. The next day, four children died in Aswat Masriya when terrorists misfired a shell aimed at a nearby army base. Egypt’s state run news agency reported on Sunday that government raids killed 14 suspected militants and led to the arrests of 40 more.

The recent rise in violence can partly be attributed to Israel’s ongoing operation in Gaza that began earlier this month. Hamas terrorists are known to operate in the region, not only targeting Israel but also the Egyptian government. The recent crackdowns by the Egyptians on tunnels leading into Gaza have limited the group’s ability to import new missiles and needed supplies. The Egyptians are taking a hard line during cease-fire talks with Hamas as the terrorist group helps fuel the violent militancy in Sinai.