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Militant combat rattles the Middle East

February 5th, 2015

 

Egypt

 

At least 26 Egyptian soldiers and civilians were killed by extremist militants on Thursday, Jan. 29, according to the BBC. The militant group, Sinai Province, has pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State group.

 

The Sinai Province targeted police headquarters, a military base, an army checkpoint and a residential complex for military and law enforcement personnel, according to Al-Jazeera.

 

The militants used a combination of car bombs and rockets fired at the various police offices and a military base.

 

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi had to shorten a trip to Ethiopia as a result of the attacks, but vowed to “die defending the region from terror,” according to Al-Jazeera.

 

Attacks in Egypt by Islamist militant groups have been ever prevalent ever since el-Sissi ousted President Mohammad Morsi in July 2013.

 

According to the BBC, the U.S. was quick to condemn the attacks by the Islamist militants, saying the country will remain “steadfast in its support of the Egyptian government’s efforts to combat the threat of terrorism.”

 

Pakistan

 

At least 55 people were killed in southern Pakistan on Friday, Jan. 30 after a bomb went off during Friday prayers at a Shiite mosque. According to NPR, dozens more were injured.

 

The group responsible for the attack, Jundallah, is linked to the Pakistani Taliban, and is classified as a Sunni militant group.  The mosque was located in Shikarpur, part of the Sindh province, 300 miles north of Karachi.

 

This was the fifth attack in this area of the Sindh province since 2010. Attacks throughout the Sindh province have been rare as it is usually a peaceful province that is fairly religiously tolerant. Jundallah has been linked to both al-Qaida and the Iranian Sunni Muslim group, according to the BBC.

 

According to the BBC, local media reported the blast was caused by a suicide bomber. Police are still working to confirm this.

 

Former President Asif Ali Zardari, a native of the Sindh Province, said he was “shocked and grieved beyond measure” by the attacks, according to The New York Times.

 

Yemen

 

Conflict in Yemen escalated as a key military base located in Sanaa was captured by Shiite rebels on Thursday, Jan. 29. U.S. military previously trained counter-terrorism forces at the base, according to ABC.

 

The Houthis, the Shiite sect responsible for the base’s capture, had seized a number of military bases in the days leading up to the attacks. This includes a Special Forces location, according to ABC. The Houthis gained control of the capital last September.

 

Until 2012, American forces used the camp to train militias to battle al-Qaida’s Yemeni affiliate group.

 

The Houthis, however, are hoping to oust President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and are currently holding him at “gunpoint,” according to The Associated Press.  The group maintains that it wants a peaceful transition of power to occur.

 

According to The Associated Press, the Houthis still control most of the capital’s military installations and weaponry.

 

The U.S. military is fighting back with drone attacks. This included one on Saturday, Jan. 31 in the Shabwa province that allegedly killed four al-Qaida operatives, according to The Associated Press.