Islamist militants are receiving boost from a section of former Egyptian army officers thus complicating President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s efforts to counter what he calls an existential threat from extremism.
These former army men joining Islamist militant groups are posing a serious challenge to Egypt where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed since the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in 2013.
With their knowledge of the country’s military organization, these men provide militants with training and strategic direction, and even carry out suicide bomb attacks against government officials.
Egypt’s Sinai region has experienced major attacks by the militants who have targeted the army and other facilities since Mursi was ousted from office. Many of the militants joined the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) Islamist group that makes up the array of insurgent groups responsible for these attacks.
More than 200 people, including former army and police officers, are now on trial for joining ABM.
An Egyptian military source said the army has a unit that tracks anyone suspected of harboring radical ideology.