From 30 June 2013 through October 2015
The Acts of Armed Violence (Terrorism) Index falls within the Cairo Index of Stability in the Middle East (Egypt Case Study). This Index strives to record and analyze acts of terrorism committed by armed organizations in Egypt.
This Index pertains to terrorist operations and acts of violence witnessed by Egypt during the period extending from 30 June 2013 through October 2015 and are based on reviewing and analyzing the most prominent acts of armed violence and terrorist operations committed in the country. This is achieved by combining and analyzing information available in various types of media and issuing results in order to understand the trends associated with such acts, and whether they are tending toward an increase or decrease. In the framework of defining the phrase ‘terrorist operations,’ operations which have not been confirmed as deliberate terrorist operations and which fall under the category of crimes have been excluded. A significant number of victims killed during civil clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood and citizens have been excluded as such.
This is a deductive approach based on observing reality and recording and classifying information in order to provide a purely descriptive image of said reality without any added interpretation or explanation on part of the researcher. This approach is utilized in case studies, region/area studies, and public opinion polls.
The studies focuses on the period following the 30 June Revolution, or from July 2013 through October 2015, which marks the end date of the study.
The Index contains an observation of the period extending from 30 June 2013 through 31 December 2014, while this paper will focus on January 2015 through October 2015.
The humanities and political and social sciences are characterized by a lack of agreement on one unified, comprehensive definition of any concept or human or political phenomenon. Instead, each phenomenon has several definitions, which are added to or taken away from. In this framework, we can recall some definitions for concepts utilized in the Index:
*Terrorist Operations: Terrorism is using violence or threatening to use violence in order to achieve a political goal. Some attribute terrorism only to acts which are undertaken by organizations, not governments. Such groups or individuals completely and willingly operate outside of the framework of the law and legitimate powers authorized by the state. The goal of these operations is to cultivate a climate of terror within public opinion, drawing media attention to a given case, and restricting the movement of leaders or state officials. From this perspective, the concept of terrorist operations espoused in this Index includes operations which employed violence, and armed violence in particular, and which precipitated terror among citizens in order to achieve the previously mentioned goals and, in the end, political goals (this includes: detonating IEDs or car bombs, carrying out shootings, acts resulting in deaths, and so on).
Other act which were not confirmed to be deliberate terrorist operations: These are operations which took place during the period that is the subject of this study, which precipitated a significant number of victims as a result of armed clashes between two parties, and not a result of acts of violence or terrorism.
The Roadmap: This is Egypt’s Transition Roadmap, which describes the various stages the country will pass through following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013. The constitutional declaration temporarily delayed work according to the constitution, and the Chairman of the Constitutional Court took over administration of state affairs for a transitional period. He was sworn in in front of the court and granted the power to issue constitutional announcements. The roadmap includes conducting early presidential elections, forming governmental and national bodies to manage the current phase, formulating a committee comprised of various parties to amend the constitution, forming a diverse committee to review suggested amendments to the constitution and appeal to the Supreme Constitutional Court to set out a parliamentary elections law, begin conducting parliamentary elections, set out a media code of conduct that guarantees media freedom, and form a supreme national interest committee comprised of credible figures.
Acts of Protest: Groups of people hitting the streets to protest and express their dissatisfaction through protests, marches, and public opinion campaigns, are carried out by political groups and global syndicates. The source may be political - as was the case with actions expressing disapproval the ruling regime and its legitimacy - or apolitical. Two elements determine which: the intended goal, and the extent to which they employ violence.
The War on Terror: This expression is used to describe the scope of operations which armed forces and carry out in the Sinai Peninsula since President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in order to eliminate armed takfiri elements located therein.
This Index strives to observe and analyze acts of violence and terrorism in Egypt which took place from January through October 2015 based on the type of operation, the geographic scope, and the time of occurrence. The goal is to measure trends in political stability in Egypt and assess scope of the phenomenon in order to grant it the attention it requires.
Most important acts of armed violence which took place between 30 June 2015 and October 2015:
Egypt has been subjected to a series of consecutive acts of violence since 30 June 2013 with the goal of destabilizing security and stability. Acts of armed violence have developed to take on a variety of forms on the ground, in a manner inspired by other strategic goals, the most important of which may be described as follows:
First: Baiting the army and police through separate operations in different areas of the Republic, rendering the attacks difficult to control. Some call this “the mouse and elephant theory,” which aims to create the greatest possible disturbance to the state through various means.
Second: Applying pressure in order to halt implementation of the roadmap and democracy in order to fulfill the constitution and presidential elections, and restoring the situation to pre- 30 June 2013.
This Index addresses information on the quantity of acts of armed violence which occurred between 13 June 2013 and October 2015, with a focus on the events of the current year (2015). The goal is to determine the extent of the phenomenon and frequency rates across various months, in addition to the geographic spread of the attacks. The Index relied on human and material losses that took place in Egyptian society, and analyzing the scope and violence of those operations and their relation to the future of security and stability in Egypt.
Distribution of Acts of Armed Violence
From 1 January 2015 through 1 October 2015 by governorate
Graph No. 1 represents the distribution of acts of armed violence which took place between 1 January 2015 and 1 October 2015 by governorate. The graph reveals that Cairo was home to the highest number of acts of armed violence during that period, with approximately 91 attacks taking place, followed by Giza with close to 84 attacks, Sinai with 78, and Fayoum with 51. Sharqiya occupied fifth place with approximately 49 attacks, followed by Qalyubia with 34. Matrouh, Sohag, and New Valley suffered the smallest number of attacks: the governorates were vulnerable to only one act of armed violence each according to newspapers and official sources which the Index utilized during that period.
Development of Acts of Armed Violence
During the period extending from July 2013 through 1 October 2015 by month
Graph No. 2 represents the development of acts of armed violence during the period extending from July 2013 through 1 October 2015 by month. March and January 2015 witnessed the highest number of acts of armed violence by far from July 2013 through 30 September 2015 (and such acts of armed violence included: IED explosions, shootings, car bombings, explosions targeting infrastructure, gas lines, mobile networks, power lines and electricity towers, and acts of arson and sabotage targeting public and private facilities). In general, acts of armed violence are declining.
Distribution rates for acts of armed violence
For the period extending from 1 January through 1 October 2015 by type of act
Graph No. 3 represents distribution rates for acts of armed violence in the period extending from 1 January 2015 through 1 October 2015 by type of operation. Acts of armed violence have been divided into six basic categories, which are: IEDs and dummy shells, acts of arson targeting public and private facilities and means of transportation, destroying infrastructure such as gas lines and electricity towers, power lines, and mobile towers, shootings, car bombs, and various other types of bombs). IED explosions have occurred the most, comprising 54.66% of total acts of armed violence that occurred from 1 January 2015 through 1 October 2015.
IEDs represent a growing proportion of acts of armed violence, and are followed by acts which destroy infrastructure, representing approximately 18.33% of the total acts of armed violence which took place during this period. Acts of arson against public facilities and means of transportation occupied in third place, representing 12.95% of the total, while shootings ranked fourth, representing 10.62% of the total. Car bombs came in fifth, accounting for 3% of total acts of armed violence during that period. A new category of attacks has been added to the list, and takes the form of violence perpetrated using various types of shells, mortar in particular. This type of attack came in last place, representing approximately 0.80% of the total since 1 January 2015 through 1 October 2015.
Distribution of highest rates of violence by governorate
From 1 January 2015 through 1 October 2015
Graph No. 4 represents the distribution of acts of armed violence from 1 January 2015 through 1 October 2015. It should be noted that close to 22.38% of acts of armed violence took place in seven main governorates, which are: Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Sinai, Sharqiyah, Qalyubia, and Gharbia. The percentage of governorates in turmoil also increased: Cairo was at the forefront of governorates which witnessed acts of armed violence, representing 15.15% of the total, followed by Giza with 13.96%. The Sinai Peninsula witnessed a noticeable increase in its share of attacks, representing 12.98% of the total, followed by Sharqiyah, in which close to 8.15% of such incidents took place. Alexandria came in fifth place, although the number of acts which took place in the governorate decreased from 8% to 6.48% during the fourth quarter of the year. Qalyubia took sixth place with 5.65% and Gharbia came in seventh, representing 4% of the total. The percentage of total attacks which took place in Gharbia remained the same as the first quarter of the current year.
Development of Acts of Armed Violence
In the period extending from 1 January 2015 through 1 October 2015 by month
Graph No. 5 displays the development of acts of armed violence in the period extending from January 2015 through 1 October 2015 by month. It should be noted that acts of armed violence witnessed a significant increase during the first three months of this period, with 124 incidents taking place. There was a slight decrease down to 105 attacks in February, while the peak of 125 attacks in one month took place in March. This number gradually declined during April, during which 72 acts of armed violence occurred, with this figure decreasing further to 63 incidents in May. June witnessed another significant decline to 23 incidents while in July, the number of acts increased again to 41 before dropping to 27 in August. This rate reached an overall low in September with only 12 acts of armed violence taking place. The decrease may be attributed to enhanced capabilities on part of security forces as well as an increased number of counter-operations, both of which served to prevent an increase in attacks and cause the numbers to decline significantly.
Development of Acts of Armed Violence
Beginning from January 2015 through October 2015 by month
Development of Acts of Armed Violence
Beginning from January 2014 through October 2014 by month
Graphs 6 and 7 represent a comparison of acts of armed violence since the beginning of January 2015 by month and versus the same period during the year 2014. An increase in the number of attacks for each month in 2015 over the corresponding month in 2014 was observed. January 2015 witnessed 124 incidents while only 14 took place in January 2014. In February 2015, the number of attacks increased to 105 from just 8 in 2014. The same trend continued in March 2015 which witnessed 125 attacks compared to 37 during 2014. Similarly, April 2015 witnessed 72 attacks 2015 compared to 39 in April 2014. In May 2015, 63 attacks took place compared to 29 in May 2014, and the same took place in July 2015, during which 41 incidents took place compared to just 25 in July 2014.
The pattern of increases in the number of attacks committed in each month of 2015 did not extend to three months in particular: there were 27 such attacks in June 2014 compared to 23 in June 2015, 53 in August 2014 compared to 27 in August 2015, and 17 in September 2014 compared to 12 in September 2015.
There was a significant decrease in armed violence at the end of September 2015, with only 12 attacks taking place, meaning that September suffered the lowest number of incidents for any month in 2015. February witnessed the lowest number of attacks in 2014, with only 8 acts of armed violence taking place, while March 2015 suffered the highest number of attacks throughout 2014 and 2015.
Distribution of acts of armed violence implemented which were later invalidated
During the period stretching from January through 1 October 2015
Graph No. 8 represents the distribution of acts of armed violence implemented as compared to acts which were invalidated from 1 January 2015 through 1 October 2015. Acts of armed violence represented approximately 80.28% of all acts of violence for the period in question, while the percentage of acts that were later invalidated numbered approximately 29.72%. The total amount of acts which were invalidated is considered to have declined over past periods:
The percentage of acts which were invalidated during 2014 represented 25% of the total, meaning that 75% of this figure were acts of armed violence. This points to a relative decrease in security apparatuses detecting acts of violence; this can be attributed to several factors, the most important of which are intelligence and information.
In general, after glancing at the Index, the following may be extracted:
The first quarter of 2015 witnessed the highest number of acts of armed violence per month, particularly the months of January - with 124 such acts taking place - and March with 125 (see graph No. 2). September experienced the lowest number of acts of armed violence, with only 12 such acts occurring indicating the presence of a gradual, significant decline in such incidents. It should be noted that no months between 30 June 2013 and 1 October 2015 were free of acts of armed violence, and police officers represented the highest rates of casualties precipitated by acts of armed violence were police officers.
Acts of armed violence spread across nearly all governorates of Egypt. Twenty-seven governorates witnessed acts of armed violence (see Graph 1) which means that the operations were spread across an area greater more than 1,000,000 km. The scattered nature of these operations made them harder to contain, requiring security forces to exert greater efforts in order to combat them. This is in addition to the presence of a broad diversity of targets, including gas lines, infrastructure (electricity towers and power lines in particular), which were the principal targets of armed terrorist organizations from 1 January 2015 through 1 October 2015. Another significant development emerged in the form of targeting senior figures and officials within the stat along the lines of the assassination of the General Prosecutor, carried out by targeting his procession with a car bomb. This operation in particular had a great impact, having taken place after other members of the judiciary were targeted in the wake of rulings issued against former President Mohamed Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
It should be noted that acts of sectarian violence, and especially those of a religious nature, almost completely disappeared, despite their being intensely present beginning after 30 June and continuing throughout 2014. No acts of sectarian violence have taken place between 1 January 2015 and 1 October 2015, a fact which indicates that sectarian violence was one a main technique employed terrorist organizations in the past. However, as this technique revealed itself to be infeasible, such organizations ceased to utilize them.
The governorates of Cairo and Giza were most vulnerable to armed violence between 1 January 2015 and 1 October 2015. Cairo experienced a greater number of such acts, a total of 91, equivalent to 15.15% of all attacks which occurred throughout the period. Giza came in second, having suffered 84 acts or 13.97% of the total, which represents more or less of a continuation of the same patterns which have prevailed since 30 June. Cairo and Giza most likely suffered a higher number of attacks due to their capacity as the most populous governorates of Egypt. Terrorist organizations’ abilities to hide and implement operations in these areas are greater, and their political message more potent when targeted Egypt’s essence, and the capital in particular.
Sinai was the location of approximately 12.98% of all acts of violence which occurred in Egypt (see Graph No. 4). By analyzing attacks that took place in Sinai, several conclusions can be drawn, the first of which is that the peninsula bore witness most types of terrorism: shootings targeting policemen and the army, gas line explosions, various types explosions employing car bombs and IEDs, launching RPGs, and so on. The second conclusion is that despite the Egyptian army’s progress on the ground in combatting terrorism – especially after Operation Haq El-Shahid – these acts of violence are expressive of the vicious nature of the war taking place in Sinai against the Egyptian army. The third conclusion involves the spread of several groups which carry out these operations, each of which has professional capabilities in a given field of armed operations. Each group also has a specific geographic location - including Rafah, Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, Taba, North Sinai, South Sinai – which facilitates follow-up for the perpetrators of violence, who hail from a variety of nationalities.
Overall, the most important notes are as follows:
1. A drop in violence – after acts of armed violence displayed a tendency toward a general increase at the beginning of 2015 with 124 such acts taking place, armed violence is still leaning toward a decrease again as of the end of September, when only 12 attacks were committed. This fact is largely reassuring and points to the presence of security stability, and consequently potentially more political stability and societal security.
2. New varieties of violence which were not previously found were introduced in the year 2015, especially acts that involved bombings. This included both mortars targeting homes or markets and RPGs targeting military equipment, phenomena which have several implications. The most important consequence is that terrorist organizations are now ready to develop their attack styles beyond traditional methods. This should ring alarm bells for security forces to prepare for more violent clashes which could generate a larger number of casualties.
3. Increasing rates of employing IEDs and dummy shells since the start of 2015, which can be attributed to their capacity as the easiest types of devices to plant. As such devices are easy to carry, transport, and manufacture, there are greater opportunities for those planting such bombs to escape unscathed.
1-The date on which this Index was prepared.
2-The figures utilized by the Index are estimations, as we were unable to obtain precise information. Thus we relied on several sources, including:
-Information from the official Facebook page of the Military Spokesperson
-Information from the official Facebook page of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior
-Information from the official website of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior
-Researchers’ efforts to collect news regarding various events and incidents (Ahmed Kamal Al-Beheiry, Haby Tareq, Ahmed AL-Basosy, Azza Hashem)
-The WikiThawra website, which inventories casualties
-The results prepared by journalist Haytham Al-Tabaay at the Agence France-Press, based on official military, security, and medical resources
-Newspaper websites, including: Al-Ahram, Al-Wafd, Al-Masry Al-Yom, Al-Watan, Veto, Youm7