Egypt beefs up forces along border

“There seems to be an understanding in Egypt following the attacks that the situation there needs to change,” says senior IDF officer.

By
August 21, 2011 01:12
2 minute read.
An Egyptian soldier on the Israeli border in Sinai

An Egyptian soldier on the Israeli border in Sinai 311 (R). (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

The Egyptian military reinforced its security along the border with Israel on Friday as terrorists from the cell that infiltrated Israel on Thursday and killed eight Israelis tried to return to the Gaza Strip from Sinai.

On Friday morning, a number of Egyptian security personnel were reportedly killed and wounded after a suicide bomber blew himself up on the Egyptian side of the Philadelphi Corridor, the line that separates Sinai and Gazan sides of the city of Rafah.

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Israeli security officials said that the suicide bomber appeared to belong to the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), which was behind the well-planned multi-stage attack near Eilat on Thursday, during which six Israeli civilians, an IDF soldier and a border policeman were killed and 33 people were wounded. Egypt denied that the soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber and said that they were hit in an explosion caused by bombs that were planted along the border, likely by the terror cell.

On Friday morning, the Egyptian military claimed that three of its men were killed in an Israeli air strike along the border. An Egyptian Army official said the men from the paramilitary Central Security Forces were killed as the IDF chased terrorists along the border near Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Taba, just west of Eilat.

On Thursday night, after the attacks, Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with a number of senior Egyptian officials in an effort to coordinate ways to prevent similar attacks in the future. IDF sources were critical of the Egyptian military as the PRC gunmen who infiltrated Israel on Thursday passed an Egyptian military outpost and were not stopped.

“There seems to be an understanding in Egypt following the attacks that the situation there needs to change,” a senior IDF officer said on Friday. “We hope the attacks will serve as the wake-up call for Egypt, which will need to work hard to regain control of the peninsula.”

On Thursday night, senior officers from the Egyptian military reportedly visited Sinai and met with leaders of the three main Beduin tribes there to discuss ways to stop the violence in the peninsula.

Israeli defense officials said that Amos Gilad, head of the Diplomatic- Security Bureau in the Defense Ministry, would likely travel to Egypt to present Israel’s version of recent events along the southern border.

Officers from the IDF Southern Command spoke on Friday with representatives of the Egyptian military to coordinate future operations along the border.

The IDF maintained a large presence along the border and continued to search for additional terrorists who might have infiltrated the country.

“We are still searching to ensure that terrorists have not remained in Israel,” said Lt.-Col. T., commander of the Eilat Counterterrorism Unit.


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