A picture taken on November 29, 2017 from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing following an explosion close to the border on the Egyptian side. AFP / SAID KHATIB
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Just days after the worst terrorist attack in Egypt's modern history, President Abdel-Fattah Sisi Wednesday gave his security forces a three-month deadline to restore "security and stability" in the troubled northern Sinai, the epicenter of a brutal Islamist insurgency.Gen. Mohammad Farid Hegazy, to use "all brute force" against the militants.It also represented a risk for Sisi.Rights groups and Sinai activists have in the past spoken of civilians enduring collective punishment, usually in the aftermath of major attacks, and of hardships resulting from military operations, including lengthy power, water and phone signal outages.Giving his security forces a three-month deadline to crush the insurgency in Sinai may turn out to be a risky gamble by Sisi, who is widely expected to seek a second, four-year term in office in elections due next year. The insurgency has gathered steam following the 2013 ouster by the military, then led by Sisi, of Mohammad Morsi, an Islamist president whose one year in office proved divisive.
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