NEWS ANALYSIS: EGYPT CHURCH ATTACKS MOTIVATED BY DAESH’S DECLINE IN SINAI: EXPERTS

CAIRO, Egypt- The recent terrorist attacks on Egyptian churches, in different provinces, are motivated by the decline of the Sinai-based affiliates of the Daesh militant group in the Sinai Peninsula, due to massive security campaigns, said Egyptian security and political experts.

As the Christian minority worshippers were marking Palm Sunday, in the Muslim-majority state earlier during the day, a blast and a suicide bombing at two churches in Gharbiya and Alexandria provinces, northern Egypt, killed at least 44 and wounded over 120.

Egypt has been fighting a terrorist wave that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, since the military removed former Islamist President, Mohamed Morsi in July, 2013, and blacklisted his Muslim Brotherhood group as “a terrorist organisation.”

“Targeting Copts proves the failure of the terrorists in confronting the security forces, in the northern part of Sinai Peninsula. They focused on Sinai in the beginning but their influence and existence eventually declined,” security expert, Salah Samak, told Xinhua.

Egypt’s military intelligence chief, Gen. Mohamed Farag al-Shahhat, said, during a military-held symposium in Feb that, at least 500 terrorists have been killed since a massive anti-terror campaign, known as “The Martyr’s Right,” started in Sept, 2015.

The military forces, in cooperation with the police have recently announced eliminating terrorists at Central Sinai’s Mount Halal area, a part of North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

“Despite the terror blasts, terrorism in Egypt in general and in Sinai in particular is declining, which shows success of the security forces in their anti-terror war, and this is why the terrorist moved to target Copts,” said the security expert, noting that, there is no such thing as 100-percent security against a suicide bombing in any state across the world.

“Those bombers, who target churches, are marginal members of the terrorist group, who have been newly recruited to be easily convinced to kill Christians,” he continued, stressing that, fresh militant recruits could easily be mislead to kill innocent civilians of other religions.

Sunday’s blasts have been claimed by the Daesh, which also claimed the responsibility for a previous church blast in Cairo, in Dec, 2016, that left at least 28 worshippers dead, mostly women and children.

Mokhtar Ghobashy, deputy chairman of the Arab Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, said that, two church bombings on Sunday came, in response to the military operations in Sinai that cleared Mount Halal area of terrorists.

“Through the two church blasts, the terrorist groups want to prove that they still exist and that they are able to target different places across the country,” Ghobashy told Xinhua.

After presiding over a meeting of the country’s national defence council later on Sunday evening, President Sisi declared in a televised statement, a three-month state of emergency in the Arab country.

He also announced the formation of a supreme council, for fighting terrorism and extremism in Egypt, as per a new law to give it sufficient authorities to do the job.

Constituting to about 10 percent of Egypt’s Muslim-majority 94 million people, the Copts are believed by experts to be a new target of the terrorist groups, as anti-Christian attacks draw world attention to pressure the Egyptian administration.

“Sunday’s blasts represent one of the episodes of the conflict between terror groups and the Egyptian state and they are meant to largely pressure the Egyptian administration and weaken the country’s national unity,” Ghobashi told Xinhua.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK