The ISIS Stronghold You Don’t Hear About

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An explosion in Sinai. (Photo: Screenshot from video)

Islamic State terrorists are most notorious for their brutal conquest of a third of Iraq in 2014 and for their slick and savage propaganda videos which feature masked jihadis beheading captives.

ISIS is not only confined to Iraq and Syria however.

They have an active province in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

A map of the Sinai Peninsula. (Photo: © Wikimedia Commons)

Here’s what’s been going on:


June 25 2012: Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis (Supporters of the Holy House, ie the Temple of Solomon/Al-Aqsa Mosque), the terrorist group which would later become ISIS in Sinai, announces its formation with a propaganda video claiming responsibility for an attack against a gas pipeline in Egypt.

October 2014: President Sisi declares a state of emergency in Sinaiafter 33 military personnel are killed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

November 2014: Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledges allegiance to the Islamic State and becomes Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province).

January 2015: ISIS kills 24 soldiers, six policemen and 14 soldiers (44 people total) in coordinated strikes in the capital of Northern Sinai Governate, El-Arish.

September 2015: The Egyptian army launches a full scale invasion of Sinai aimed at destroying militant groups and restoring order.

August 2016: Egyptian airstrikes kill the commander of Wilayat Sinai, Abu Duaa al-Ansari, along with 45 jihadis.

November 2016: Egyptian parliament extends the state of emergency in Sinai for another three months, the ninth time it has done so.

February 2017: Following a barrage of rockets fired at the southern Israeli city Eilat by ISIS terrorists, Israel kills four jihadis in a drone strike.

March 2017: an estimated 80 Coptic families are now sheltering in Ismailia, having fled El-Arish. ISIS forced them to flee by threatening to kill them. Analysts surmise ISIS has switched its attention to targeting Christians as it is losing the military campaign against the army.

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Elliot Friedland

Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.

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