Egypt Security Watch

ESW Week in Brief: August 10–16, 2019


  • A report on Twitter said that 17 suspected Wilayat Sinai militants were killed in strikes by the Egyptian Air Force southwest of Sheikh Zuweid and Arish.
  • Wilayat Sinai claimed responsibility for two attacks this week and released photos depicting its members observing Eid al-Adha. 
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation released a bulletin requesting information about Egyptian national Mohamed Ahmed Elsayed Ahmed Ibrahim over his suspected links to al-Qaeda.

Airstrikes Kill 17 Suspected Militants in North Sinai

Analyst Mahmoud Gamal tweeted reports of Egyptian airstrikes in North Sinai, citing a military source. The operation reportedly killed 17 militants affiliated with Wilayat Sinai and took place southwest of Sheikh Zuweid and Arish.  

In its reporting of Operation Sinai 2018, the Egyptian Armed Forces recognized airstrikes as prominent feature of the campaign in North Sinai. However, since the operation’s conclusion, reports on the use of airpower in North Sinai have been sporadic. On March 30, a similarly sourced report detailed airstrikes targeting Wilayat Sinai near Sheikh Zuweid and on farmland south of Arish.   

Wilayat Sinai Claims Two Attacks

Wilayat Sinai claimed two attacks over the reporting period. On August 8, Wilayat Sinai claimed responsibility for a heavy weapons attack on an Egyptian army hummer, east of Arish. On August 11, the group claimed  responsibility for an August 9 improvised explosive device (IED) attack, targeting a dismounted army patrol along the International Coastal Road, which runs from Qantara to Arish. The attacks represent the eighth and ninth operations claimed by Wilayat Sinai in August. Through July, Wilayat Sinai reported just seven attacks, although in June the group reported 16 operations. 

Photos of Wilayat Sinai observing Eid al-Adha also circulated on Twitter, depicting nearly 30 members praying and eating. 

FBI Adds Egyptian National to Most Wanted List

On August 12, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York field office announced that it was seeking information about an Egyptian national living in Brazil. The FBI alleged that Mohamed Ahmed Elsayed Ahmed Ibrahim is an al-Qaeda operative, who had been involved in plotting operations against the United States’ interests. Ibrahim was born in Egypt’s Gharbia governorate. The American Department of Justice and the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a joint statement saying that Ibrahim had entered Brazil in 2018.

In 2016, Brazilian officials arrested 10 suspected jihadists ahead of the Summer Olympic Games, which were being held in Rio de Janeiro.  

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