An image grab taken from a handout video released by the Egyptian Defense Ministry on November 25, 2017 shows an Egyptian air force fighter pilot seated in a cockpit, flying over the desert. (AFP PHOTO/EGYPTIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY)
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CAIRO: The scale of the bloodshed was vastly higher than past militant attacks but the Egyptian government response was the same: three days of mourning, reassuring messages in the media that things are under control and the president promising vengeance. The identical pattern in the aftermath of Friday's attack on a mosque in Sinai, which killed 305 people, raises the question whether Egypt has any options left in the fight against militants.The military has deployed tanks, fighting vehicles, fighter jets, warships and helicopter gunships along with tens of thousands of security forces in three years of conflict with extremists, including an affiliate of Daesh (ISIS) in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula.The firepower and troop deployments in Sinai have kept militants from holding territory but have not prevented them from carrying out assassinations that terrorize the population and launching deadly attacks on military and police posts and convoys and recently a daylight robbery in Sinai's largest town.Warplanes and attack helicopters have limits in a rugged mountain terrain that the militants know far better than the military does.Even those who oppose the militants become less likely to help security forces.The military, however, fears armed tribesmen could eventually turn against it.
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