In a recent interview with David Ignatius of the Washington Post, General Mohamed Farid el Tohamy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, admitted that eradicating jihadist cells from the Sinai Peninsula “could take some time.” He further warned that “some of the jihadist cells had infiltrated Cairo, the Nile Delta and upper Egypt,” the report stated. He claimed, however, that these cells were being monitored by Egyptian authorities.

El Tohamy’s acknowledgment that eliminating the jihadist threat from the Sinai “could take some time,” contrasts with previous statements from Egyptian officials who have contended that the “Sinai will be announced free of terrorism soon.”

With regard to Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis), the main jihadist group in the Sinai, el Tohamy said there was no evidence yet that the group was in “‘direct communication’ with core al-Qaeda or its Egyptian-born leader, Ayman Zawahiri.” However, according to the report, el Tohamy acknowledged that the jihadist group was in “communication … through Internet sites and social media.”