Rare, grim, first-hand reporting from Sinai by Reuters:
(Reuters) - Egypt's army says it is crushing Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula, but in the region's villages and towns a victory for the state feels a long way off.
In a rare visit to eight villages in Northern Sinai last week, a Reuters reporter saw widespread destruction caused by army operations, but also found evidence that a few hundred militants are successfully playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Arab world's biggest army and are nowhere near defeat. It is increasingly difficult for foreign correspondents to openly enter conflict zones in the Sinai.
Residents say the militants - a mix of Egyptian Islamists, foreign fighters and disgruntled youth - have seized control of about a third of the villages in the region and are now taking their fight closer to Cairo.
"The army is in control of the main roads but is unable to enter many villages. It can only attack them by helicopter," said Mustafa Abu Salman, who lives near al-Bars village.
"Even when the army's armored personnel vehicles enter villages they fail to arrest militants who have better knowledge of the place, which the military completely lacks."
Many residents say that the authorities' military operations are actually creating new enemies for the state.
Worth reading the whole thing, which is somewhat reminiscent of the 2004-2006 debate about regular military vs. counter-insurgency techniques in Iraq.