It took years but the government was able to crush it with a heavy-handed crackdown that entrenched the long-term power of security agencies in the country.
Egypt was hit by its deadliest ever militant attack when gunmen opened fire and set off explosives at a mosque in the northern Sinai Peninsula, killing more than 200 people.
Egypt has been battling an insurgency in the Sinai led by an affiliate of the Islamic State group that intensified after the military’s 2013 ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Hundreds have been killed in what has become a grinding stalemate in Sinai. The militants have expanded their attacks to other parts of Egypt, carrying out deadly bombings of churches to terrorize the Christian minority and deadly gunbattles with security forces.
A generation earlier in the 1990s, Egypt faced a campaign of violence by Islamic militants largely based in the south of the country. The militants attacked Christians and security forces and sought to undermine Egypt’s economy by striking tourists. It took years but the government was able to crush it with a heavy-handed crackdown that entrenched the long-term power of security agencies in the country. Some of the campaign’s militant leaders, from Islamic Jihad and the Gamaa Islamiya, would later be prominent in al-Qaida.
In November 1997, gunmen opened fire on tourists, killing 62 people, at the Temple of Hatshepsut in the southern city of Luxor, site of many of the country’s most dramatic and popular pharaonic monuments. It was the deadliest attack of the 1990s insurgency.
In the mid-2000’s, newly formed Sinai militant groups carried out a series of bombings against beach resorts. A suicide truck bomber hit a Hilton in Taba on the border with Israel in October 2004, and near simultaneous bombings hit two other Sinai resorts, killing a total of 34 people, mostly Egyptians and Israelis.
In July 2005, bombings hit multiple sites including a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh, the biggest of Egypt’s Sinai resorts, killing 88 people. The following April, bombs detonated at several locations in Dahab, killing 23 people.