CAIRO: What are the reasons behind terrorists often choosing periods of religious festivals and events to carry out attacks on Egyptians? Arab News asked experts on Islamic political groups and security issues for their opinions.
Alaa Azmi, a journalist and specialist in armed groups, said that terrorists often tried to exploit lax security during holiday and religious festival seasons to strike.
Armed groups in Sinai affiliated to Daesh had a history of attacking holy places and religious events, said Azmi, an example being in 2012 when the terror group formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis killed 16 members of the Egyptian army during Ramadan.
Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Ghabari, former director of the National Defense College and a security expert at the Nasser Military Academy, said terror groups looked for security loopholes or took advantage of tensions in areas where they had already carried out attacks.
He told Arab News that attacks in the seasons were aimed at sending messages to the world about poor security in Egypt, which were often swiftly followed by retaliatory Egyptian military operations.
The most prominent of these were deadly blasts at Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria during Easter celebrations in April 2017, resulting in the deaths of more than 40 worshippers.
Egyptian societies expert, Dr. Magda Mostafa, said that “spoiling the joy of Egyptians is the main reason that drives the terrorists to launch their terrorist operations during holidays and events.”
She added that the armed organizations wanted to create a rift among members of Egyptian society. “They aim to drive anger on citizens to accuse the government of failing to protect them, and this is certainly not true.”
Eight Egyptian police officers were killed on Wednesday in a militant attack on a checkpoint in the northern Sinai peninsula. The attack took place near the city of El-Arish as locals celebrated Eid Al-Fitr.
The death of Capt. Omar Al-Qadi during the ambush saw hundreds of villagers gather outside his house to offer their condolences.
A relative of the family, Hajj Mahmoud Outa, said news of the terror attack had shocked the whole community, and he described Al-Qadi as a man of high morals, dignity and humility.
“Terrorists always target us on holidays. They want to turn our lives into hell, but we will stop them, and we will fight until we are victorious,” he said.