Timeline: How Sinai became a target for terrorism

How a beautiful desert spot became a site for terror and violence.

November 24, 2017 15:22
2 minute read.
Timeline:  How Sinai became a target for terrorism

Special police forces stand guard as a Greek monk is seen on the top of a church at Saint Catherine's monastery, in the Sinai Peninsula. (photo credit: AMR ABDALLAH DALSH / REUTERS)


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Following the removal from power of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013, the Sinai Peninsula became a zone of common clashes between the Egyptian military and Islamic groups, some of who pledge allegiance to ISIS.

Once a picturesque dessert peninsula that used to attract tourists from Israel and around the world, the region is now increasingly synonymous with bloodshed and terror.

Deadly incidents have rocked the coastal and desert land over the last four years. Here are five of the most deadly. 

October 24 2014 - 33 killed in Sheikh Zuweid

The Islamic group Ansar Bait al-Maqdis [Supporters of the Holy House], that claimed to place Jerusalem as its focus, carried out a large attack in October 24 2014 in the Bedouin town of Sheikh Zuweid. 33 members of the Egyptian security forces were killed and a three-month long state of emergency ensued.

The group has, since that attack, sworn loyalty to ISIS and is now known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province [ISIL-SP].

January 29, 2015 - 32 killed in series of bombings and shootings

Targeting six army bases and checkpoints around the city of Al Arish, members of ISIL-SP 32 soldiers and civilians using car bombs, mortars and automatic fire. It was the first major military-style operation by the group.

October 31 2015 - 224 killed in plane explosion

In October 31 2015 ISIL-SP blew up a Russian plane carrying 224 passengers, all of whom perished in the explosion. The attack on Flight A321was the deadliest air disaster in Russian history. 

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai near El Arish city REUTERS 31/10/2015

A woman cries at an opening ceremony of a monument commemorating victims of the crash of Metrojet Airbus A321 in Egypt's Sinai peninsula in 2015, in St. Petersburg REUTERS / Anton Vaganov

April 9 2017 - 45 killed in attack on church

On Palm Sunday 2017, ISIL-SP carried out two suicide attacks against the Christian minority of Egypt.

St. George’s Church in Tanta and Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria were attacked, leaving 45 people dead and 126 people injured.

A mother of one of the victims of an attack on a group of Coptic Christians attends a funeral at the Sacred Family Church in Minya, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

November 24 2017:

Friday's attack took place at the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of Arish city. Over 150 people have so far been reported dead as a result of the attack. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bloodshed.

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