On Aug. 9, four members of the Salafi jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) were killed as they were preparing to fire rockets toward Israel. While jihadist groups have contended that the four were killed as a result of an Israeli drone strike in cooperation with Egyptian authorities, conflicting statements have emerged from Egyptian sources. Additionally, Israeli officials have remained relatively mum.
While dispute still swirls as to the targeting of the cell, on Aug. 10 Hussein Ibrahim Salem al Tihi, from the Tiyaaha tribe, and Yusri Muhaareb al Saraarkah, Ibrahim Khalaf al Munei’I, and Muhammad Hussein al Munei’i, all from the Sawaarkah tribe, were buried following an extensive funeral procession. Over the past two days, photos and video from the funeral have been released to jihadist forums.
According to reports, during the funeral, those in attendance called for the end of the military’s rule and chanted “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!” Additionally, the Associated Press noted that “it is believed that many who were present are wanted by police for carrying out near daily attacks on security forces in Sinai.”
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I’ve never understood why we don’t target funerals with such a dense target environment. The numbers at the funeral show the scale of the problem and at the same time prove that hitting them one at a time with drone strikes is never going to defeat them. You don’t kill ants by stepping on them one at a time. Our strength is our ability to pour ordnance on targets yet we continue with this dumb PC drivel of killing one at a time. The entire funeral procession should’ve been wiped out and any attempt at burying any of them should’ve been attacked in addition. Another “highway of death” that should’ve been a sign or our overwhelming strength. But instead is a sign of our overwhelming weakness.
I think the answer is that this funeral took place in Egypt, and the Egyptians need us to be discreet. Since they are providing the intelligence for these strikes, if we embarrass the Egyptian authorities with wide-scale carnage, then we won’t get any more intel. The Egyptians need this kind of discretion from us because they themselves are in a delicate position with respect to the Islamists, and cannot be seen to be cooperating with Israel or the US.
To borrow your phrasing — it is not exactly that WE are overwhelmingly weak, but our allies in Egypt certainly are — Islamists probably comprise 10-20% of the population, there, and their fierceness gives them strength out of proportion to their numbers. So the Egyptian government treads carefully, and so must we.