Suez Canal still vulnerable to terrorist attacks, report warns

Cairo: Despite a dramatic buildup in military personnel and hardware along the Suez Canal since it came under repeated terrorist attacks last summer, the crucial waterway is still vulnerable, a report by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy states.

“Egypt’s military recognizes the threat it faces over securing the Suez Canal, although it has not done enough to mitigate the risk of attacks, instead favoring reactive military campaigns against militant groups and individuals operating from the Sinai Peninsula. Yet the threat of serious attacks by militants—operations that could sink a major vessel and thus block the canal—is a real one.,” the report’s author Stephen Starr warned.

Starr added: “The military appears increasingly incapable of preventing the sporadic attacks such as those being launched by the Furqan Brigades and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. As a result, the Sinai Peninsula remains a hotbed of militant activity, and ships in the Suez Canal risk future attacks.”

Last year the terrorists attacked ships transiting the canal on at least two separate occasions, most notably an RPG attack on a giant 9,000 teu Chinese containership, the Cosco Asia.  [19/01/13]

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