by Jason Ditz
The Egyptian military junta has once again claimed major progress in their latest offensive against the Sinai Peninsula, including 55 more “militants” killed today, bringing the nine-day toll of what is being called “Operation Right of the Martyr” to 415 killed, and 320 others arrested as “suspects.”
The junta launched a war against the Sinai Peninsula after their 2013 summer coup, and it quickly spiraled out of control. Islamist factions they saw as too supportive of the democratically-elected government they ousted were quickly overtaken by more extreme groups, and in 2014 the largest of them became an ISIS affiliate.
All told the casualties in the war are split narrowly between military forces and militants, with a large and largely uncounted civilian toll the inevitable result of haphazard offensives against Sinai towns seen as “pro-militant” leaving many in ruins.
This latest offensive centers on far-eastern Sinai, near the Gaza Strip, one of several places within the massive peninsula that is believed to have a heavy ISIS presence. Though officials are trying to present the new “comprehensive” operation as a decisive blow, many similar operations have been carried out throughout this war, only for a retaliatory strike shortly thereafter to dash hopes that it might be the end of the fighting.