Home Front Defense Matan Vilnai pointing_311.
(photo credit: Linui Alihi)
A cell of more than 10 terrorists is currently in the Sinai with plans to carry out an attack against Israel along its border with Egypt, Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vinai said on Tuesday.
“Islamic Jihad is trying for a long time to perpetrate the attacks from the Sinai and the of Id al-Fitr is a good time for attacks,” Vilnai said during a visit to an Elbit Systems factory in Sderot in reference to the Muslim holiday which begins on Tuesday. “The defense establishment has concrete intelligence regarding plans by a terror cell from the Sinai consisting of more than 10 people.”
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Vilnai said that the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) were working in close cooperation to thwart the attack and that Israel was also coordinating with Egypt.
On Monday, the IDF went on high alert along Israel’s southern border with Egypt on Monday and significantly bolstered its forces there amid concrete intelligence that Islamic Jihad terrorists were planning to infiltrate into Israel and carry out a similar attack to the one near Eilat 10 days ago.
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz made the decision to beef up forces along the border late Sunday night and instructed OC Planning Directorate Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel to update the Egyptian military of the decision.
IDF sources said that intelligence indicated that the Islamic Jihad cell
had crossed into the Sinai Peninsula from the Gaza Strip and was
planning to carry out an attack along one of the roads that runs
alongside the border in the coming days. As a result, both Roads 12 and
10 remained closed on Tuesday.
A senior defense official said on Tuesday that Israel was restraining
itself and not taking action against the Islamic Jihad in order to not
undermine the Egyptian regime.
Israel’s ties with the interim military-controlled regime in Egypt has
been tenuous since the attacks near Eilat on August 18 and amid growing
calls within Egypt to review the peace treaty between the countries. As a
result, Israel decided not to launch a larger offensive against
terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.