Israel Warns Egypt it Will Hit Terrorists if Sinai Not Secured in Near Future

This past weekend, Israel warned Egypt that it would act against terrorist cells operating in the Sinai Peninsula if Egypt does not secure the area and border.

The warning issued by Israel comes in the wake of a rocket attack on the city of Eilat in southern Israel as well as a shooting attack last year in the Negev Desert that left several dead and numerous others wounded.  The most recent attack that was perpetrated last week saw a three grad rocket land in downtown Eilat; no one was injured or killed.  Israel says the missile came from Israel, Egypt denied any official responsibility for the attack.  A second unexploded rocket was found two days later outside Eilat.

In response to the attack and lack of security in the Sinai, Israel warning Egypt that it would take steps to protect Israeli citizens from attacks from across the border.  In addition, Israel clearly told the Egyptian Military Council that it was responsible for the attacks and must secure the area which is already suspected of having jihadist groups such as Al-Qaeda operating in it.

Israeli officials also said that they would operate in the Sinai if it becomes insecure, such as if a war breaks out between terrorist cells and the Egyptian government.  While Israeli officials do not expect such a situation, they are preparing for such a situation.  Reports also revealed that Israel also has attempted to pressure Egypt into dismantling the Hamas presence in the Sinai, something Egypt has resisted doing because of political considerations at home.

Since the attack, Egypt has sent additional forces to the Sinai to keep order and retake control of important areas such as the pipeline to Israel that is repeatedly bombed as well as police stations that were abandoned and occupied by Bedouin tribes over the last year since the revolution that overthrew the Mubarak government.  In addition, the Egyptian military has launched an offensive against the numerous Bedouin tribes in the Sinai, who have been largely responsible for weapons trafficking as well as causing unrest in the area.  According to reports, approximately 150 officers have been deployed and more will likely join them in the future.