A branch of ISIS struck Egypt’s capital on Sunday. The Financial Times reports:
Isis gunmen in Egypt have shot dead eight policemen in a suburb south of Cairo in one of the deadliest attacks targeting the security forces in the capital.The militant group, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said its operatives seized light weapons from the policemen and were able to retreat safely. In a statement, the group said the killings were to avenge the imprisonment of “chaste and pure” women in Egyptian jails.Mena, the state news agency, said the plainclothes policemen were inspecting security in the suburb of Helwan when their minibus was stopped in the early hours of Sunday by four gunmen in a pick-up truck who opened fire.
As we covered last week, recent developments in Sinai suggest that the ISIS branch there has had success fighting the Egyptian Army recently—and now this. It’s not the first time ISIS has struck elsewhere in Egypt, nor the most spectacular (the Sinai group—there are two ISIS subsidiaries in Egypt—claimed responsibility for bringing down a Russian airliner with a bomb this fall.) Rather, it’s the randomness and ease of this attack that rekindles our (admittedly recurring) worry for Egypt.The Sisi government is struggling with the security situation, without (apparently) much success. And in Egypt, terror isn’t just terror: if attacks start hitting places like Cairo more frequently, it’ll have an affect on the enormously important tourism industry too. Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous state, still thankfully is more stable than many of its neighbors. But if its economy and security situations both slide in a big way, that could mean trouble on a greater scale than we’ve seen so far.Note: This story has been edited since publication.