Terrorists exploit security loopholes to unleash carnage, say experts

A copy of the Holy Qur’an and remnants of personal belongings of victims of the attack on the Al-Rawdah Mosque. (Reuters)
Updated 08 June 2019

Terrorists exploit security loopholes to unleash carnage, say experts

  • Terrorists often tried to exploit lax security during holiday and religious festival seasons to strike

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.


Jordan pools $131m in COVID-19 donation fund

Updated 24 min 33 sec ago

Jordan pools $131m in COVID-19 donation fund

  • An official said the distribution of assistance “is being robustly monitored”
  • The fund continues to receive contributions at a Central Bank of Jordan account

DUBAI: Jordan’s national fund – Himmat Watan – has gathered a total of $131.1 million (93.5 million Jordanian Dinars) since its launch on March, the state news agency has reported.

The fund was established in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the contributions were distributed to several charity organizations.

Jamal Sarayrah, the deputy chairman of the committee assigned to oversee the fund, said the distribution of assistance “is being robustly monitored,” adding more than 250,000 households have already been given aid.

Global accounting firm EY has been hired to audit the accounts, Sarayrah said.

The fund continues to receive contributions at a Central Bank of Jordan account.