Egypt's El-Sisi Orders `Brute Force' Operation to Pacify Sinai

(Bloomberg) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered the military to restore security in northern Sinai within three months, authorizing the use of “brute force” days after militants carried out the single worst terrorist strike in the country’s recent history.

Addressing an audience of Muslim clerics, El-Sisi said he had told Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Mohamed Farid Hegazi: “You are responsible, you are responsible within three moths to restore security and stability in Sinai.”

Last week as many as 30 militants stormed a mosque in a small Sinai town west of Al-Arish, shooting dead more than 300 people and wounding over 100 others. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities have said some of the militants hoisted the black banner of the Islamic State. The mosque was frequented by Sufis, a mystical sect of Islam viewed as heretical by extremists.

Egyptian authorities have been battling militants affiliated with the Islamic State in the northern part of the peninsula, which borders Gaza, Israel and the Suez Canal. The Nov. 24 attack marked a shift in tactics for the group, which had largely targeted security forces and the Christian minority.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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