The Egyptian government fought a low-level war with Islamist radicals in the 1990s and claimed victory through the use of hard-nosed tactics and negotiations with the larger, known militant groups. Meanwhile, moderate Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Centrists attempted to enter politics by legitimate means, but were essentially frozen out by the country’s restrictive political rules. However, several recent violent incidents have punctured the calm, once again threatening Egypt’s tourist industry, a crucial economic sector employing over a million. The recent attacks raise a number of important questions. First and foremost, is a new phase of radical activity in Egypt emerging precisely because of repressive tactics? How might better tactics against terror be effective if the Egyptian government does not provide more transparency and accountability in its communications to the public? And, are there other means to employ, like promoting moderate Islam as an antidote to radical Islam as some academics and a recent Rand report have suggested? 
Three unsettling attacks, or four, depending on one’s sources, have already taken place in the last eight months. On 7 October 2004, car bombs were detonated at resorts in Taba and Ras Shitan in the Sinai; killing at least 34 persons according to Egyptian sources and injuring over 150. Some 12,000 Israeli tourists vacationing during the Sukkot holidays fled. The Brigades of Abdullah Azzam, a heretofore unknown al-Qaeda affiliate group claimed responsibility. On 7 April 2005 a bombing near the Khan al-Khalili bazaar killed three tourists and wounded 18 persons. Egyptian authorities initially announced that the bomber, Hassan Rafa’at Bashandi acted alone, but then sought his accomplices.  They arrested Gamal Ahmad ‘Abd al-‘Al and Ashraf Said Yusif, and another suspect and cousin of Ashraf’s who died in police custody. Egyptian authorities claim that Ihab Yousri Yassin, aka Ihab Yousri Mohammad of Saft learned of these arrests shortly before carrying out his own attack. It seems security forces were pursuing him when he was either blown up, or blew himself up by launching himself from the bridge behind the Egyptian museum onto Abd al-Moniem Riyadh square on April 30th. The Ministry of the Interior reported that Yassin jumped from the bridge and subsequently detonated a bomb.  However some eyewitnesses described a heavy object falling from the bridge onto a man walking near them, who was decapitated by the explosion.  Three Egyptians, an Israeli couple, a Swedish man and an Italian woman were also injured. Soon after this incident, Yassin’s sister, Nagat Yassin, and his fiancée, Iman Khamis, both fully veiled and in their 20s, reportedly opened fire on a tourist bus in the Sayyida Aisha neighborhood.
Sources again conflict. Some reported that police fired on the women, killing one, while others held that one woman shot the other, and then wounded herself, dying later in hospital.  It has also been reported that 226 individuals were arrested in the extremists’ native villages, and in the Shoubra neighborhood of Cairo.  The driver of a car that transported the two women is still wanted, and a scrap of paper found in one woman’s purse said that "we will continue to sacrifice our lives to let others live,"  – a typical characterization of "defensive" jihad. Libya subsequently extradited Yassin’s 17-year old brother, Muhammad to Egypt in connection with the April attacks.