Terrorism in Egypt: the Worst Attacks in the 21st Century

A map showing the Sinai Peninsula, which has been a hot bed of terrorism in Egypt in the late 2010s.
A map showing the Sinai Peninsula, which has been a hot bed of terrorism in Egypt in the late 2010s.

Terrorist attacks in Egypt intensified from the 1980s to the 2000s. Some of the targets of terrorists can include locals, foreigners, Christian Copts, and government officials. Some of the deadliest attacks in the twenty-first century include:

1. Al-Rawda Mosque Attack

The Al-Rawda mosque is found in North Sinai, Egypt. On November 24, 2017 the mosque was the site of the deadliest violent attack in Egyptian history. Terrorists released bombs and opened fire on worshippers, resulting in the deaths of 305 people. The mosque was especially busy due to the time attacks coinciding with Friday prayer times. 

2. Metrojet Flight 9268

The Metrojet Flight crashed on October 31, 2015, and killed all the passengers and crew members on board. Flight 9268 was an intercontinental plane operated by Metrojet that was traveling to Pulkovo Airport in Russia from Sharm el-Sheikh Airport. The aircraft was carrying tourists (1 Belarusian, 4 Ukrainians, and 219 Russians) and 7 crew members. The crash of Flight 9268 was the deadliest attack in Egypt and the history of Metrojet. It was the most fatal crash in 2015 and the most dangerous accident involving an Airbus-A320 aircraft.

Shortly after the plane crashed, the leader of the ISIL’s Sinai Branch, Osama al-Masri claimed responsibility in a video posted on Twitter. They also posted images of the bomb they used on their online magazine. The American and British governments suspected that the plane was bombed. Ayman al-Muqaddam, the lead investigator, reported that the possible causes of the crash could have been overheating of the lithium batteries, metal fatigue, and fuel explosion. The Russian’s Federal Security Service claimed that they were sure it was a terrorist attack caused by a bomb with over 2.2 pounds of TNT which exploded during the flight. The Egyptian president acknowledged that it was a terrorist attack on February 24, 2016. The incident forced numerous countries to improve their airport security measures in fear of another attack by the ISIL.

3. Sharm el-Sheikh attacks

The Sharm el-Sheikh attacks were a series of bombs that exploded on July 23, 2003, in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort city on the southern parts of the Sinai Peninsula. The bomb attacks resulted in about 88 casualties, and the blast injured approximately 150 people. The attacks corresponded with ‘’Revolution Day", a holiday that commemorates with the defeat of King Farouk in 1952.

The incident took place very early in the morning while most locals and foreign tourists were still in the bars, cafes, and restaurants. The first explosion was reported at a market in Sharm and the second one exploded shortly afterward at the Ghazala Garden hotel which is about 3.7 miles from the center in the Bay of Naama region.

Even though the government reported that the attack killed 64 people, the local hospitals announced that about 88 individuals lost their lives in the attacks. Most of the wounded and killed individuals were Egyptians. Among the casualties included 1 American, 1 Czech, 1 Israeli, 11 Britons, and 2 Germans. Other victims included foreigners from Asia specifically Russia, Qatar and Kuwait, while the rest were from Holland, Spain, and France. The first organization to announce their involvement in the attack was the Abdullah Azzah Brigades group. The group also announced that they were linked with the al-Queda on their website. Other groups which claimed to have detonated the bombs include the Holy Warriors and the Tawhid and Jihad.

4. Dahab bombings

The Dahab bombings incident involved three bombs that exploded in Dahab (an Egyptian resort city) on April 24, 2006. The hotels in Dahab are quite famous with both local and foreign vacationers, especially during the holidays. A sequence of bombs exploded on the Shan Al-Nasseim holiday in the vacationers' region of the city at the Aqaba Gulf. One of the blasts occurred next to the market of Ghazala; the other exploded close to Aladdin café and the last one near/in the Nelson restaurant. The bombings killed about 23 people, mostly Egyptians. Other casualties were from numerous European and Asian nations as well as Australia.

Other Deadly Terrorist Attacks In Egypt

Egypt has experienced some of the worst terrorist attacks in the last few decades among them being the three Sinai bombings which caused the death of 34 individuals while injuring 171 people on October 7, 2004, in the Hilton Taba. Another deadly attack was the al-Qidiseen church bombing in 2011 which resulted in 23 casualties. Saint Peter and Paul Church explosion killed 29 people mostly children and women on December 11, 2016.

The Worst Terror Attacks In Egypt In The 21st Century

RankAttack NameEstimated Casualties
1Al-Rawda Mosque Attack305
2Metrojet Flight 9268224
3Sharm El Sheikh Bombings88
4Palm Sunday Bombings30
5Church of Saints Peter and Paul Bombing29
6Minya Attack28
7al-Qidiseen Church Bombing23
8Al-Wadi Al-Gedid Attack21

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