[Ed. – Emphasis added.]
Egypt’s president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi has declared a state of emergency in the Sinai peninsula to last three months, with a curfew in force from 5 pm to 7 am. Egypt will also close the Rafah crossing that connects Gaza to Egypt, effectively canceling one of the major terms of the peace agreement that ended the Gaza war that took place in July and August of this year.
On Friday, 26 Egyptian troops were killed when a car bomb rammed a checkpoint in northern Sinai, near the border with Israel. This followed a gunfire attack on Wednesday from Sinai on an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) unit on the other side of the border in Israel.
The perpetrators are assumed to be the Sinai terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdas (ABM – Ansar Jerusalem – Champions of Jerusalem). Terror attacks have been on the increase since the army coup that ousted president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government on July 3 of last year, and ABM has claimed credit for many of them. (“17-Feb-14 World View — Egypt’s terrorism escalates with attack on tourist bus”)
However, the perpetrators may instead have been Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate), a splinter group from a similarly named Algerian terrorist group that has pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL). This group announced itself last month and has promised to strike American interests and the “worshipers of the Cross” in Egypt. …
Al-Sisi did not name any specific groups in his statement, but he doesn’t distinguish between the Muslim Brotherhood and external jihadist groups. Al-Sisi is promising to take “many measures” to suppress terror attacks. One proposed measure would allow military courts used to try civilians accused of offences such as blocking roads or attacking public property.