The war has become more complicated in the Sinai Peninsula in the past few weeks after the Islamic State (IS), namely Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Sinai, began using traps and remote bombing in its confrontation with the Egyptian army. This has multiplied the difficulties facing the Egyptian army in fighting the terrorists who have mastered the art of hiding in the region’s arid environment.
According to field information gathered by Al-Monitor over the past 30 days, the terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has planted 21 bombs almost daily along several routes taken by the army and security officials in north Sinai in the areas stretching from el-Arish to Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.
The security apparatus has succeeded in discovering and dismantling seven bombs, while 14 others exploded. Six bombs targeted military vehicles, killing four security men and wounding 24 others, some of whom were in critical condition, mostly soldiers and officers. Eight bombs exploded without hitting their target.
A researcher specializing in security affairs and jihadist groups in Sinai spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity for security reasons, saying, “Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is increasingly using bombs because they are unable to face the Egyptian army, which is better equipped and larger. As a result, the army outdoes them in direct confrontations, which it is well trained for.”
The researcher said, “We cannot in any way monitor all roads to prevent planting bombs. The targeting and triggering of explosive devices are done remotely by relying on communications technology. The army tried to prevent these attacks by shutting down mobile networks during daily military movements, from 4 a.m. until 6 p.m. However, the terrorists recently relied on wireless networks and UHF radios, and equipped themselves with electronic intensifier technology to strengthen the signal for detonating bombs from a distance of up to one kilometer [0.6 mile].”