CAIRO—The video looks hard to distinguish from the ones filmed in Syria and Iraq. Islamic State gunmen arrive in a fleet of pickup trucks, set up checkpoints on a busy highway and start hauling away suspected collaborators with the “apostate” government.
It ends, predictably, with forced confessions and gruesome, close-up shots of killings.
But these videos, released by Islamic State’s “Province of Sinai”
last month, weren’t shot anywhere near Syria or Iraq. The highway in the footage is the main road linking the Egyptian cities of el-Arish and Rafah, on the Mediterranean shore of the restive Sinai Peninsula close to the Gaza Strip
Similar Islamic State franchises have also sprung up in parts of Yemen, Algeria and Libya—where the “Province of Tripoli
” Tuesday claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on one of Tripoli’s main hotels.
The “Province of Sinai” so far appears to be the most dangerous of these Islamic State franchises, inflicting serious casualties on the Egyptian army
in what’s likely to be a prolonged and increasingly vicious insurgency.
“In a way, what is happening in Sinai looks a lot like what was happening in Iraq in the mid-2000s
,” said Issandr El Amrani, director of North Africa at the International Crisis Group....