Sinai’s Suffering

The Peninsula Has Become a Breeding Ground for Terror

A woman who was displaced from the border areas of northern Sinai is seen near shacks on the outskirts of El-Arish, Egypt, May 2015. Asmaa Magui / REUTERS

After decades of relative calm, El-Arish, the capital of Egypt’s North Sinai province, has become a recruiting ground for the Islamic State (ISIS). On January 9, the group declared responsibility for attacks on two checkpoints in the city that left eight police personnel dead. Four days later, the Egyptian ministry of the interior issued a statement on the death of ten men whom it described as terrorists. In an operation broadcast on Egyptian state television, they were killed when security forces stormed their hiding place in retaliation for the ISIS attacks.

The images startled several prominent Bedouin families in North Sinai, who recognized six of the men as locals who had been arrested and taken from their houses about two months earlier. The families believed that the police had taken their sons out of their jail cells, placed them in an apartment, and killed them in cold blood to convince

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