Since 2011, Egypt has been losing ground against a virulent but numerically small insurgency in the Sinai. Notwithstanding its 440,000-strong standing army and $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military assistance, over the past five years, Egypt has been unable to contain—much less roll back—an estimated 600–1,000 insurgents. Indeed, the Sinai-based insurgents have an impressive and growing list of accomplishments. Since 2014—when the local insurgent group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdas, pledged allegiance to ISIS—the group has downed an Egyptian military helicopter, destroyed an M-60 battle tank, sunk an Egyptian patrol boat, and bombed a Russian passenger jet, killing 224 civilians.
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