1 Thessalonians 5 “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.”
Islamic President Mohamed Mursi of Egypt stepped out of his comfort zone by meeting with the Army’s Military Council and sending airstrikes into the northern frontier of the Sinai against Muslim and Islamic terrorists. This was the first time Egypt has sent warplanes into this area since the end of the country’s war with Israel in 1973. This foray on Egyptian soil occurred three days after a terrorist attack that killed 16 Egyptian security forces and attempted to forcibly enter into the State of Israel for further terrorist activities.
Morsi had promised in a hospital room of a survivor in the Sinai incident, “Those who committed this crime will pay for it dearly.”
The Islamist militants who have taken root in the North Sinai province are
a significant problem for Egypt. These extremist groups have been promoting self-governance under sharia, or Islamic law in the Sinai.
Zeinab Abul-Magd, a history professor at the American University in Cairo said, “The Egyptian army is well-equipped. They have tanks and planes to crush these terror groups. But they have not trained their officers or soldiers to deal with the problems of Sinai.”
It was reported on Egypt’s state television that the overnight bomb strikes in the Sinai killed 20 suspected militants. Local residents said the offensive appeared to have been merely a show of force and a publicity stunt. The facts of this report were sketchy. Community leaders saw no evidence of fatalities. It was reported that the only visible damage was a charred Toyota that was described as unoccupied when it came under fire.
Ahmad Abu Deraa, a local journalist, said he followed Egyptian ground troops to the sites of the Egyptian military strikes, but saw no evidence of casualties.
Robert Springboard, an expert on Egyptian military affairs, stated that the country’s armed forces have never been eager to take on extremist cells operating in the Sinai. “The position taken by the military has been, ‘This is really not our job,’ ” Springboard said in a phone interview.
The Sinai has turned into a lawless area since the Egyptian revolt of 2011 when police stations were burned and looted by the Bedouin tribes and Islamic militants began to stockpile weapons. Security forces seldom stray from the main highway. Some jihadists are vowing to beat back any attempt by security forces to assert any kind of control in the Sinai Territory.
Political turmoil is stirring the pot which could soon boil over. Morsi is under heavy pressure to come down hard on Islamic militants, but any missteps on his part could bring about a backlash from his own Islamic political base. Morsi stayed away from the military funeral for the 16 slain soldiers, a conspicuous absence for a leader whose uneasy relationship with the military is being closely watched.