Egypt’s recent history shows that indiscriminate military responses to terror only escalate the situation

Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, cultivates a hard-man image. His response to Friday’s atrocity at al-Rawdah mosque in northern Sinai was wholly predictable. Hours after Islamic State-linked gunmen killed more than 300 Sufi worshippers, Sisi sent waves of warplanes to exact revenge. “The air force has … eliminated a number of outposts used by terrorist elements,” the military said.

If only it were that easy. If Sisi and his generals knew the location of such terrorist outposts, why had they not already been destroyed? It is probable the targets were chosen randomly and yet more innocent lives may now have been lost. This, in turn, may exacerbate Egypt’s long-running problem with Islamist insurgents.

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