Middle East and North Africa

Egypt launches military offensive against Islamic militants

Egyptian President Abel Fatta al-Sisi.

Egypt’s military launched an offensive this week against Islamic militants in the Sinai who have been targeting Christians with impunity in response to directions by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Former general al-Sisi has ordered a combined effort by the army, navy and air force to “clear Egypt’s territory of [the] terrorist element” in an operation which is expected to encompass the Nile Delta and the western desert, as well as the Sinai.

Christians and other religious minorities in the Sinai Peninsula been have been targeted in attacks by Islamist groups, the most deadly of which was a suicide and shooting attack on a Sufi mosque in November 2017, which left 235 people dead.

The renewed push by the Egyptian military to bring security to the region raises the prospect that the displaced Christian community from El-Arish might one day be able to return to their town and live in safety.