Officials: Hundreds of jihadists operating in the Sinai
Over the past several months, reports of jihadist activity in the Sinai Peninsula have become increasingly frequent. A new report from the Daily Beast reveals that Western officials now believe that "foreign jihadis, possibly from Yemen and Somalia, are among the several hundred extremists operating" in the Sinai.
According to the report, "dozens of radicals from across the Middle East have flocked to the barren wilderness, and are taking up the banner of local extremists."
With regard to the Aug. 5 attack on an Egyptian border checkpoint at Rafah, in which 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed, the report says British officials think it was "carried out by home grown Egyptian radicals, possibly working alongside militants from Gaza." Although no group has taken responsibility for the attack, Israeli intelligence believes that Ansar Jerusalem was likely responsible.
Earlier today US Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers arrived in Egypt. During his two-day visit, Vickers is scheduled to hold meetings focusing on the Sinai, according to the Associated Press.
For more information on jihadist groups operating in the Egyptian Sinai, see LWJ reports, Mujahideen Shura Council calls attack in Israel a 'gift' to Zawahiri and al Qaeda 'brothers' and Ansar al Jihad swears allegiance to al Qaeda's emir; and Threat Matrix reports, New jihadist group emerges in the Egyptian Sinai, Zawahiri eulogizes Salafi jihadist killed in Gaza, and Sinai jihadists reportedly travel to Gaza to join Hamas in fight against Israel.