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The Islamic State’s Game in Egypt

 Al-Watan, Egypt, Originally posted in Arabic on August 23

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for last week’s car bomb attack near the national security building in downtown Cairo. Roughly 30 people were injured in the attack, yet, luckily, none killed.

Security footage from the scene later revealed that the booby-trapped car was parked far away from the building’s main gates, in what seemed like a deliberate decision on behalf of the perpetrators. This raises interesting questions regarding the Islamic State’s true purpose in this attack.

The answer to this question, I believe, is very simple: The Islamic State seeks to send a strong message to the Egyptian government that, despite the recently-passed terror act, armed resistance to President Sisi’s secular government will continue with full power. ISIS is not deterred by the President’s attempt to crack down on terror infrastructure in Egypt, and will continue defying the security apparatus in the country.

In other words, what we are witnessing today is a psychological war. By creating fear and intimidation among the people, ISIS is hoping to gain the upper hand. But there is also some good news. This struggle is proof that the Egyptian branch of the terror organization is in dire condition.

Our authorities have been closely monitoring the organization’s activity in Egypt, and working to dry up its sources of funding and smuggling. Even in the Sinai Peninsula, where the security forces’ foothold is considered weak, the Islamic State’s activity is limited to 12 small villages between the towns of Sheikh Zuweid and Al-Arish.

With its back against the wall, the Islamic State is now attempting to infiltrate mainland Egypt and establish a presence on the Libyan border. By doing so, it is hoping to save itself from collapsing. This is the Islamic State’s new game plan in Egypt.

Luckily, our authorities will ensure that it fails. – Imad al-Din Adib