ISIS elements flee Egyptian army crackdown in Sinai

By Ahmed al-Sharqawi in Cairo

Egyptian police inspect cars at a checkpoint in North Sinai on January 31st, 2015. [Stringer/AFP]

Egyptian police inspect cars at a checkpoint in North Sinai on January 31st, 2015. [Stringer/AFP]

"Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) elements are fleeing Egypt following a brutal crackdown on their hideouts by the Egyptian army in central and northern Sinai, officials tell Al-Mashareq.

The group used its weekly newsletter Al-Nabaa to urge its elements not to escape from the battlefield, warning them of hellfire in the afterlife if they commit such acts.

The leader of Egypt’s ISIS affiliate Wilayat Sinai urged his elements to withstand the successive strikes of the Egyptian army and not to flee.

In its latest operation, the Egyptian army on August 25th arrested five ISIS elements and killed six others in security raids on their hideouts in Sinai.

"ISIS's open admission about the escape of its elements is clear evidence of the successive losses the group is suffering," said extremist groups expert Ahmed Ban.

This was particularly exacerbated by the group's loss of vast swathes of land in Iraq, he told Al-Mashareq.

"These successive blows have affected ISIS's control of oil, which is one of its most important sources of income," he said.

Ban added that the intensive aerial surveillance conducted by international coalition forces on ISIS's Syrian stronghold of al-Raqa has caused a break of communications with group leaders in Egypt.

"The lone wolf attacks the group is currently carrying out in Egypt are nothing but attempts to assert its presence," he said.

ISIS elements are unable to conduct all-out attacks or assert their control over an area, he said.

"The army is tightening the noose on ISIS through stationary and mobile checkpoints, an increased level of armament and increased aerial sorties," he added.

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