Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday ordered his new military chief to secure the Sinai peninsula within three months.
Speaking at a ceremony for the new chief of staff, Mr. Sisi said: “It is your responsibility to secure and stabilize Sinai within the next three months. You can use all brute force necessary.”
Mr. Sisi has been criticized domestically and by international rights groups for his heavy-handed approach to militancy in the Sinai region.
North Sinai has long been a hotbed of militant activity, and Egypt has responded by imposing curfews and establishing buffer zones in the area bordering Israel. Members of the jihadist group Ansar Bait al-Maqdis pledged allegience to Islamic State in 2014, becoming Wilayat Sinai (the “Sinai Province”) and pushing the government to step up its military presence in the region.
The ISIS affiliate has claimed responsibility for around 800 of the 1,700 attacks carried out in Sinai since the military removed Mr. Sisi’s predecessor, Muhammad Morsi from power in 2013.
On Friday, militants attacked a mosque in North Sinai, killing over 300 people.