With their scourge — ousted President Hosni Mubarak — out of the way, the most extreme fringes of Egyptian Islamists are flexing their muscles, adding a potentially destabilizing layer to Egypt’s multiple political troubles ahead of presidential elections later this month, the Associated Press reported Monday, May 7. Militants who vow allegiance to al-Qaida have attacked security forces in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula close to Israel and enjoy unchallenged control of two border towns.
The radical groups made an appearance last week at protests near the Defense Ministry in Cairo. Wearing beards and long robes, they waved the black banners of al-Qaida and chanted slogans against President Barack Obama and praising al-Qaida’s late leader Osama bin Laden.
The emergence of the militants comes at a time when security remains tenuous 14 months after Mubarak’s fall.