ISIS Enters Egypt

How Washington Must Respond

Smoke rises during a military operation in the Egyptian city of Rafah, October 2014. Suhaib Salem / Courtesy Reuters

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has officially entered Egypt. On November 10, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a militant movement that operates out of the northern Sinai Peninsula, pledged allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The group, which emerged after the 2011 uprising that overthrew Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, has already established itself as a formidable player in its own right. In recent months, it has staged devastating attacks on Egypt’s police forces and claimed responsibility for a series of suicide attacks on military facilities in Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula.

The announcement was not a complete surprise, however, coming just weeks after Egyptian President Abel Fattah al-Sisi declared a state of emergency in the Sinai Peninsula and launched a bloody offensive against the group, which required an evacuation of Rafah that displaced approximately 10,000 people. Moreover, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and ISIS are natural partners: They share not

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