|Sinai, the travel-industry version [Image Source]. Today's realities are less photogenic.|
A group of anonymous militants kidnapped early on Thursday seven Egyptian security officers in the lawless Sinai Peninsula, near the borders with Israel, security and Bedouin sources said. According to the sources three policemen and four army officers who were riding in taxis travelling from Arish to Rafah cities, both in North Sinai, were stopped by militants and kidnapped. It was not yet clear who was behind the operation or their motives or demands. Egypt’s government has been trying re-establish state authority that collapsed in Sinai following the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak. [Al Arabiya]We have no better idea than Reuters about who issues orders to the 'anonymous militants'. But we pointed out earlier this week that Egypt's army has recently implemented a series of Hamas-hostile measures including restrictions on the movement of Hamas figures and the destruction of Hamas smuggling tunnels. And in March, an intriguing article in The Tower reported on efforts by Egyptian army officials and Egypt's Minister of Defense to hit back at Hamas. This was described as retaliation for perceived insults, offences and disrespect - the potent combination that often plays an explosive role in intra-Arab conflicts.
Sinai is the source of much of the anxiety in our neighborhood, as we have noted in several items here.