Friday, July 14, 2017

Multiple terror attacks hit Egypt.

File photo of tourists walking in Hurghada Egypt. Miami Herald/AP

Multiple attacks in Egypt kill two German tourists and five police officers. AP. The tourists were killed in a mass stabbing that injured an additional four tourists in a beach resort at Hurghada. The attacker warned Egyptians away making it clear that he was targeting foreign nationals. He was subdued and arrested quickly. He had swam to the resort from the sea. 

In a separate attack five police officers were killed in a mass shooting near some of Egypt's oldest pyramids. The attack was a drive by shooting and the suspects escaped after the police returned fire. Nobody has taken claim for either attack but Egypt suspects that The Hasam, a banned Muslim Brotherhood group, could be responsible for the police shooting as it resembles other attacks committed by the terror group. 

My Comment:
Very bad news in Egypt, who seems to be having major problems with terrorism. And it seems that they have more than just ISIS to worry about now. As far as I know, nobody has taken credit for either attack but it seems that The Hasam is a major suspect in the police shooting. This terror group has links to the Muslim Brotherhood, a major source of terrorism and spreading Islamist propaganda worldwide. 

The tourist stabbing is less easy to figure out. It is possible that the attack was committed by a lone nut with no Islamic motivation at all, but I think we can all understand how unlikely that is. My guess is that the attacker in this case was probably an ISIS sympathizer and he did it in the name of the terror group. 

ISIS has been very active in Egypt and control some territory in the Sinai peninsula, where the city of Hurghada is located. They have had several absolutely devastating terror attacks in the region, including the destruction of a Russian airliner and the recent attacks on Coptic Christians. 

But I don't think that this was an operation that was directed by ISIS. Why? Because if they had done it directly, instead of inspiring it, the attacker would have been better armed. Though mass stabbings can be effective, as this terror attack proves, they are a tactic of last resort given how quickly they can be stopped by armed guards. If this had been an ISIS directed attack, the attacker would have been armed with a rifle or suicide belt. 

I think it is extremely likely that this is another lone wolf attack by someone just inspired by ISIS or other terrorist groups. Though ISIS's terror propaganda has been greatly reduced by massive casualties inflicted in Syria and Iraq, there is still a lot of radical propaganda out there. As long as that is true, these kinds of attacks will continue to happen. 

This is yet another devastating blow to Egypt's tourism industry. Given their amazing archaeological sites and great beaches, Egypt relies on tourism for much of its income. This most recent terrorist attack will probably scare away some of the few tourists who haven't been scared away by all the other violence and unrest that Egypt has suffered. 

The AP article was fairly critical of Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. I don't think that is warranted. I think al-Sisi is doing a fairly good job considering the circumstances. The Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt and he had to overthrow them when it became very clear that they were far too extreme. A little unrest after the revolution and counterrevolution is to be expected. Given the circumstances I think al-Sisi is doing a good job. 

Still, Egypt needs to figure out how to get this terror threat under control. Though I don't think Egypt is in danger of falling to terrorists in the same way that Syria and Egypt did and Afghanistan is right now, they are still in danger of having the terrorists wreck their economy. If they don't stop ISIS and other groups like The Hasam, things will not go well for them. 

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