TEL AVIV β In recent weeks, thousands of foreign jihadists have been attempting to infiltrate Egypt, stoking fears of a coming destabilization campaign akin to the insurgency in Syria, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
The officials warned of a troubling development taking place among the al-Qaida-linked organizations already inside Egypt. They said there is information the militant groups are forming a de fact chain of command, with alarming coordination between the various jihadist factions embedded around the country.
The terrorist infrastructure is being set up beyond the Islamist stronghold of the Sinai Peninsula. The officials said al-Qaida-linked groups in Egypt have been forming divisions replete with leadership and assignments to specific territories, including in the Sinai, Suez regions, outside Cairo and along the Delta.
Some Internet al-Qaida forums have even been discussing the possibility of declaring the Sinai an Islamic emirate.
The security officials told WND that militants killed during a recent Egyptian military operation targeting the terrorist infrastructure in the Sinai included jihadists from Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, evidencing the foreign nature of some of the fighters.
The security officials said al-Qaida groups believe the way to weaken the Egyptian economy is to target both transport and tourism.
Earlier this week, Germany joined a list of countries strongly advising against tourist travel to all regions of the Sinai.
The move followed the announcement by a Sinai-based Islamic extremist group warning tourists to vacate Egypt before Feb. 20, threatening to attack those who remained in the country.
The same group claimed credit for a suicide bombing on a tourist bus earlier this month in the Sinai near the Taba border crossing with Israel. Two South Korean tourists and an Egyptian were killed in that attack.