Possible Terrorist Attack Foiled in Egypt…

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 3 Issue: 11

A brief message posted on the Tajdeed forum (since taken off the web) calls attention to the position of Egypt in the global jihad. On March 7, one signing himself “The Banner of Truth” posted a cryptically short note concerning what he termed the “Al-Kinana Buqayq operation.” It appeared to indicate that Egyptian security had foiled an attempt, perhaps inspired by the recent Abqaiq (Buqayq) operation in Saudi Arabia, on petroleum supplies in Egypt. According to the text, there was “trustworthy news from special sources in the Land of Kinana [a poetic term for Egypt]. Last week, an operation akin to the Buqayq operation was foiled. A car filled with explosives was stopped en route to a complex of the largest petrol storage containers in Egypt. Both mobile and stationary security watches had to be set up over a wide area of the complex, all security measures were beefed up, and identity papers in all similar areas closely scrutinized” (http://tajdeed.org.uk/forums, March 7).

No more information was provided and there has been no subsequent confirmation of this incident. If it indeed took place, and is related to the attempt in Saudi Arabia, it would mark an interesting development. Egypt is not an oil-producer, and a successful attack would have nothing like the effect of the February 24 strike at Abqaiq. Its purpose would be to create an impression of organized, international strength, as part of the “disruption and exhaustion phase” that the mujahideen are to carry out to stretch enemy forces through the dispersal of targets (Terrorism Focus, March 17, 2005).

The environment in Egypt, however, in both security and ideological terms, is so far proving not conducive for mujahideen operations. Egypt is the cradle of Islamist militant radicalism, but since the apogee of violence in the late 1980s and 1990s it has yet to see significant militant activity in step with al-Qaeda’s waxing profile in the Gulf. The October 2004 and July 2005 attacks in Sinai were of limited effect. They were not efficiently exploited for propaganda purposes and were criticized as such by Abu Muhammad al-Hilali in his Risalah ila Ahl al-Thughur fi Sina’ (“Letter to the Frontiersmen in Sinai”), posted on the al-Hesbah forum in September 2005. In mid-December last year, a posting on the al-Safinat forum (since closed) noted the relative lack of activity and questioned why there were no al-Qaeda members in Egypt to “fight against the Pharaonic security forces, collaborators and apostate allies to the infidel and the Zionists, their embassies and against the apostate secular parties.” It called on the forums to “encourage the mujahideen brothers to find the necessary resources to obtain weapons, equipment and training.”