As Israel completes construction of a fence along its border with Egypt, concern
is growing within the defense establishment that Beduin who are dependent on the
smuggling industry will increase their involvement in
According to the IDF, there are approximately 400,000 Beduin
who live in the Sinai Peninsula are are split into a number of tribes. Twenty
percent of them are involved in tourism and the remaining 80 percent in trade,
“Once the fence is up and completed we expect that we
will see more Beduin involvement in terror from the Sinai,” one senior IDF
The assessment is based on an increase in involvement
by Beduin in terror activity within the Sinai, mostly in attacks against
Egyptian military and police positions. In addition, the perpetrators of the
attack last August along the border – which killed eight Israelis – were carried
out by Egyptian Beduin.
Meanwhile Tuesday, the IDF Southern Command
continued its investigation into the attack on Monday which killed an Israeli
construction worker on his way to work on the border fence.
was perpetrated by a cell consisting of about four terrorists. Two crossed into
Israel and planted a roadside bomb which they detonated next to a jeep carrying
men heading to work on the border fence.
But defense officials admitted
that one of Israel’s greatest challenges was gathering intelligence on terrorist
infrastructure in the Sinai.
“It is like a big black hole,” one official
said when trying to describe the difficulty in gathering data on terror activity
in the peninsula.
One of the main reasons is because Israel does not have
the ability to operate as freely in the Sinai as it does in the Gaza
For that reason and due to predictions that the attacks will
continue, Israel is continuing its call on the Egyptian government to restore
control over the Sinai. On Tuesday, Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz toured
the border and said that terrorist groups were already setting up bases inside
the Sinai that would be used to launch attacks against Israel.
that the Defense Ministry would continue working on the fence along the border
expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“The more significant
problem is what’s happening in Sinai, where terror bases are being established
and we expect the Egyptian to restore their sovereignty there,” Gantz
Gantz’s comments echo similar statements made Monday by members of
Israel’s political establishment, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Netanyahu said the border attack would
not deter Israel from building the security barrier.
“This barrier is
meant both to prevent terrorism and also to prevent the entrance of
infiltrators,” he said. “Its construction is of supreme national interest.”