Marine Corps General Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on a military flight from Brussels to the United States,
“[T]he Egyptians are taking the fight to the Islamic State right now.”
The Egyptian military is currently fighting Islamic State fighters in the Sinai Peninsula and the number of IS fighters there number around the high hundreds. The known Islamic State affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula is the Wilayat Sinai, who has been tied to terror group Hamas in the last year. General Dunford added,
“We have seen a connection between the Islamic State in the Sinai and Raqqah. We have seen communication between the Islamic State in the Sinai and the Islamic State in Libya and elsewhere, so we are watching that pretty closely.”
While NATO and the U.S. debate training and equipping fighters in neighboring Libya, any possible training mission would more than likely be ‘Italian-led and limited in scope.’
If it’s the Wilayat Sinai that General Dunford is referring to, a lot more needs to take place than just ‘watching’ the Egyptian military take on these terrorists. The Wilayat Sinai are ‘in bed’ with Hamas, the very terror group that is providing security on an eight mile stretch of the Egypt-Gaza border and is suspected of aiding Wilayat Sinai through the use of the Hamas-built cross-border tunnel system.
Hamas and the Wilayat Sinai pose a real threat to the safety of the Sinai region as well as the Gaza Strip and Israel; not to mention the Multinational Forces and Observers whose base is on the Sinai Peninsula.
This fight against this IS affiliate, Wilayat Sinai, will mean cutting off the Hamas tentacles, it’s terrorist friend in arms that’s been aiding and abetting them for months now with deadly consequences. Egypt needs to sever its ties with Hamas and stop this back and forth ‘dance’ with the terrorist group if it truly wants to start to succeed against the IS affiliate Wilayat Sinai. How should the U.S. and allied forces approach this situation in the Sinai Peninsula and should Egypt denounce Hamas once and for all? Sound off in the comments below!