Egypt Junta Losing the Battle in Sinai Offensive

'Pinpoint' Operations Turning Into Protracted War Against Insurgency

In the days leading up to the summer coup d’etat, Egypt’s military started building up their military presence in the Sinai Peninsula, focusing particularly on its border with the Gaza Strip. After the coup, and with eager endorsement from Israel, the offensive began in earnest, cracking down on Salafist factions they claimed were loyal to Hamas, to the ousted civilian government, and just about anyone else that might justify the operations.

Six months in, officials warn that the offensive is morphing from a series of “pinpoint” operations against known targets to a protracted war of insurgency, and one Egypt’s military isn’t faring particularly well in.

Egypt has claimed 131 killed “terrorists” in the offensive, and those figures include more than a few villagers whose towns came under shelling. Egypt’s own military has suffered 260 deaths in the operations.

The Egypt junta’s operational planning clearly preceded the coup, with the military even getting the US and other nations to commit extra troops to the observer force in Sinai ahead of time. As the fighting drags on, those troops are basically stuck on bases trying to avoid the clashes, and Egypt has its own internal quagmire to contend with.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of