What would IDF do if soldier were abducted to Sinai?

Analysis: An Israeli incursion into Sinai would immediately be perceived as a violation of Egyptian sovereignty.

February 21, 2012 02:28
1 minute read.
Gilad Schalit arrives at his home in Mitzpe Hila

Gilad Schalit arrives at his home in Mitzpe Hila 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesman)


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Israel is increasingly concerned with the continued anarchy in the Sinai Peninsula and is reviewing operational contingencies in the event that it will need to pursue attackers into Egyptian territory.

The concern in Israel is focused on a possible attack along its border with Egypt similar to the one that took place in August when a group of armed Egyptians crossed into Israel and killed eight Israelis. IDF soldiers found plastic handcuffs on their bodies and the defense establishment believes that they planned to abduct a soldier or a civilian.

One question likely to arise is what will the IDF do in the event that a soldier is abducted and taken into Sinai and whether it will have the same freedom to operate there like it has in the event that a soldier is abducted by Hamas and taken into the Gaza Strip. An Israeli incursion into Sinai would immediately be perceived as a violation of Egyptian sovereignty.

The IDF is concerned with the increasing instability in Sinai and the Egyptian’s lack of ability to regain control over the terror-ridden territory. IDF sources said that terrorists from Iraq and Afghanistan were believed to be operating in Sinai alongside Palestinians and Egyptians.

Hamas, for example, is believed to have established forward bases and rocket storage centers in Sinai in an effort to protect its assets from airstrikes. Hamas believes Israel will not strike terrorist targets inside Egyptian territory due to the impact it would have on Israeli-Egyptian ties.

Israel has called on the Egyptian government to increase its efforts to restore order in Sinai but so far the Egyptian military has held back from engaging terrorist elements and from trying to dismantle the infrastructure in the peninsula.

Israel agreed to the deployment of three Egyptian military battalions in Sinai, although they are having limited success in stopping terrorist activity in the peninsula.

Arms smuggling into Gaza is believed to be up by almost 20 percent. Recent caches have included some advanced weaponry stolen from Libyan military storehouses, such as Russian-made shoulder-to-air missiles.

Hamas has also dug tunnels capable of smuggling cars into Gaza and approximately 40 cars are smuggled into the strip on a weekly basis, according to statistics obtained by the IDF. A Hummer and Land Rover SUVs were recently smuggled into Gaza.

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