Israel eyeing reoccupation of Sinai - Egyptian breakdown
raises concern over terror threats
Posted: July 07, 2011
1:35 am Eastern
News From Israel
The Israeli military
Regional analysts say Israeli officials are thinking about
reoccupying the Sinai Peninsula because of the growing prospect of
infiltration by al-Qaida and other militants such as Hamas, the
inability of the Egyptian military to guarantee security and the
prospect of a cut-off of vital natural gas supplies flowing
through a repeatedly sabotaged pipeline.
Israeli officials already have warned of a heightened terrorist
threat from the Sinai. In April, Israeli aircraft attacked a car
said to be carrying three Hamas operatives allegedly planning to
abduct Israelis there.
In response, Israel's counter-terrorism bureau issued an
instruction that told of "updated information that terrorist
organizations are continuing their efforts to abduct Israeli
tourists in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula for bargaining purposes" and
that "terror agents that are residing in Sinai are coordinating
plans for such attacks with local Bedouin collaborators."
Since the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in January,
Israel has become increasingly concerned with the security of the
Sinai, a stretch of land that is three times the size of Israel's
pre-1967 border area, or some 23,000 square miles.
As G2Bulletin recently reported, some 400 al-Qaida militants are
known to have infiltrated into the Sinai with the help of Hamas
Palestinians from bordering Gaza. There also is Israeli concern
that Hamas could bring in rockets from the Gaza Strip and shoot
them into Israel along the 140-mile border between Israel and the
Egyptian authorities also claim they no longer can maintain
security in the region.
Egyptian police are abandoning their remote stations and
checkpoints, which are coming under increased attacks from Bedouin
tribesmen in the region. Bedouin tribesmen ransacked numerous
abandoned government facilities and have threatened to attack
South Sinai oil installations and tourist resorts.
"The Sinai is already known as a lawless land," according to a
senior Israeli official. "There is real concern that if the
Egyptians don't get the Sinai back under their control, it could
develop into a major threat to Israel."