Cairo has turned to the scare tactics of a chemical weapon threat to cow the Al Qaeda-linked Salafist gunmen of Sinai after the Egyptian army failed to bring them to heel in the six weeks since 16 Egyptian soldiers were massacred in their Sinai base and more than a week after those gunmen overran the Multinational Force at its al-Ghora headquarters in northern Sinai.
Friday, the Kuwait paper Al Rai accordingly quoted Egyptian security sources as saying that chemical weapons would be used “to smoke out the terrorists” from their hiding places and make them easier to catch. They would be used far from residential areas, according to the quote.
DEBKAfile: The Egyptian threat is not serious: A large concentration of armed Bedouin is gathered in the residential areas of northern Sinai between Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid south of El Arish. The Egyptian army knows it cannot hit them without causing a bloodbath.