Beduins inspect their weapons in the Sinai Peninsula 370 (R).
(photo credit: Asmaa Waguih / Reuters)
Global jihad terrorists in Sinai receive financial and logistical support from
other Salafi terror cells in Afghanistan and Iraq, a senior Israeli official
revealed on Wednesday.
The groups are usually not connected to Iran,
which is working to establish its own terrorist infrastructure in Sinai via
Hezbollah, according to the official.
A large proportion of the weaponry
used in the recent spate of attacks against Israel
originated in Libya, where
arms depots were raided and cleared out following the revolution there last
Israel is particularly concerned about sophisticated shoulder-to-air
missiles that can threaten Israeli aircraft flying near the border. Another
concern is the possibility that sea mines the Libyan military previously
deployed will find their way to Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
“There is no
shortage of weapons and explosives in Sinai,” the official said.
official said that the cross-border attack from Sinai on Sunday – during which
armed Beduin from Sinai killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, stole an armored vehicle
and infiltrated Israel – was motivated by the groups’ interest in establishing
themselves as a new player in the region. The assessment within the Israeli
intelligence community is that the attacks will continue and might increase in
The IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) cannot yet
identify a group that is responsible for the attacks, although Egyptian media
reported on Wednesday that the Army of Islam, a Gaza-based group affiliated with
al-Qaida, was involved. According to Israel, the perpetrators are global jihad
operatives, brought together by a common cause – to attack Israel and Egypt –
and financial incentives for their families.
“These are attacks that are
aimed at establishing the groups’ reputation and position within Sinai,” the
official said, adding that the operatives were not subordinate to the Beduin
sheikhs who traditionally were in charge of everything that happens in the
The focus for Israel now is on increasing its
intelligence-gathering capabilities in Sinai. The government is expected to
decide in the coming weeks which intelligence agency – Military Intelligence or
the Shin Bet – will be placed in charge of covering Sinai. Such a decision will
draw an immediate budget increase for the chosen agency.