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Wednesday
Aug172011

Islamic Militants Spring Up in Wake of Egyptian Transition

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- The Egyptian military says it has arrested nearly a dozen Islamic militants in the northern Sinai desert, near Israel's border.  Based on pamphlets and weapons found, officials believe some of these militants have direct ties to al Qaeda, while others aspire to have ties to the terrorist group. One group arrested was reportedly planning to bomb the El-Arish gas pipeline.

The revolution has emboldened militants in Sinai, but now officials say the area is also attracting militants who escaped from prisons in Cairo during the political upheaval. This is a worrying sign for Egyptian leaders who do not want to face a terrorist stronghold that opposes the government's transition to democracy and sows violence.  

The U.S. has watched al Qaeda in Yemen increase its operations as the national uprising there has created a political and security vacuum. A new al Qaeda-linked or al Qaeda-inspired network in Sinai would be another unwelcome challenge. And Israeli officials have already voiced concern over the rise of militant groups along its border with Sinai, groups that many in Jerusalem fear would aid in bringing more weapons into the Gaza Strip and plotting attacks against Israeli targets.  

The attacks on the Sinai pipeline has already shut down the supply of natural gas to Israel three times in five months -- one of the reasons cited for a recent increase in electricity prices.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio