USDOS – US Department of State (Author)
North Sinai. In 2019, ISIS-Sinai Province (ISIS-SP) used portions of Egypt’s Sinai region as a base to conduct attacks against military and civilian targets in the Sinai, though they claimed no attacks in mainland Egypt. Between January and December, 428 significant conflict events occurred in Northern Sinai, including 134 IED-related attacks, 153 airstrikes, and near weekly complex assaults on government fortified positions by ISIS-SP. These events have exemplified ISIS-SP’s freedom to maneuver during daytime hours and the expansion of its attacks westward, toward the Suez Canal Zone, and southward. In April, ISIS-SP responded to the call to avenge ISIS’s territorial defeat in Syria by increasing attacks globally. In addition, ISIS-SP was the first ISIS affiliate to swear allegiance to the new ISIS self-proclaimed caliph.
While Egypt’s most recent large-scale campaign against ISIS-SP, “Operation Sinai 2018,” ended, counterterrorism operations in Sinai continued. Egypt continued to partner with U.S. counterterrorism efforts in this regard and continued its measures to prevent the proliferation and trafficking of WMD. At the same time, the Government of Egypt, including the Egyptian Armed Forces, broadened its counterterrorism strategy in Sinai to encompass development and humanitarian projects on the peninsula. ISIS-SP has continued to carry out attacks, and Egyptian security forces face frequent small arms and IED attacks. These repeated attacks indicate that ISIS-SP remains intent on expanding its influence and operations in the Sinai.
The United States supported Egypt’s efforts to combat ISIS-SP and other terrorist groups in Egypt by providing AH-64 Apache helicopters, mine-resistant and ambush-protected vehicles, counter-IED training, mobile sensor towers, and border security training programs. The United States routinely engages in military-to-military discussions on how it can help Egypt defeat ISIS-SP and other terrorist groups in Egypt. The United States remains concerned about the security situation in Sinai and the potential effects on the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping mission located there.