The series of military-targeted attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula overnight has resulted in the confirmed deaths of at least 26 people, including a number of soldiers, the BBC has reported. The news comes in the midst of an alarming period in Egypt, with the shooting death of a female activist in clashes with riot police at a peaceful rally in Cairo only days ago.
This reflects Egypt’s position and recent deterioration on the Global Peace Index. In 2014, Egypt ranked in the bottom twenty least peaceful countries at 143rd, it experienced one of the largest yearly declines in rating out of any country in the index, sliding down thirty-one ranks. What we see in Egypt is reflective of a broader trend in peace, which is a decline in hostility between nations, and a rise in the number and intensity of internal conflicts.
The turmoil in Egypt is a result of years of political instability headlined by the 2011 uprising against then-leader Hosni Mubarak, followed by the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. Subsequently, politically-motivated violence has increased exponentially, along with homicide and crime rates. A sharp increase in the number of people killed in internal conflicts is the leading cause for Egypt’s deterioration on the Global Peace Index, as well as a general increase in perceived criminality within society.
There is also continued conflict between followers and opponents of Mr Morsi, as Morsi’s party ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ maintain support from large areas of the population, despite the attempted crackdown on the party led by current president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Furthermore, radicalised militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis have intensified their attacks since the 2013 coup and have claimed responsibility for the attacks in Sinai.
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