(photo credit: )
Global Jihad terror cells affiliated with al-Qaida, operating in the Sinai desert and stationed 30 kilometers from Israel's border with Egypt have drawn up plans to abduct IDF troops, border policemen and civilians, a high-ranking security official told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Terrorist cells were operating in the hills and caves in the Jabal Halal region in northern Sinai, the official said.
The cells now threatening Israeli security forces along the border, the official said, were behind terror attacks in the Sinai, including the bombings in Sharm e-Sheikh last July and Taba in 2004, which together killed over 100 people.
"These groups are dangerous and sit not far from the border with the intention to try and kidnap soldiers and civilians," the official said.
In addition to the abduction threats, the army is also on the lookout for Palestinian infiltrators who, with Gaza sealed, enter the Sinai from Gaza and reenter Israel along the border with Egypt. The Palestinian infiltrators, he said, were split into two different categories - terrorists and instructors.
"There are some Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who try to infiltrate from Egypt to carry out suicide bombings," he said. "Others try to make it to the West Bank to pass on technical information on how to manufacture bombs as well as Kassam rockets."
While the security forces along the fenceless Egyptian border have succeeded in intercepting most of the infiltrators, some, security officials admit, have gotten through to the West Bank.
Last month, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh revealed that Global Jihad and al-Qaida terror cells based in Jordan have also stepped up their attempts to infiltrate Israel and were in close contact with Palestinian terror cells in the West Bank.
Citing a "recent upsurge in terrorist activities by Global Jihad" in the countries neighboring Israel, the National Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Division issued a warning two weeks ago against travel to Arab countries in general, and those neighboring Israel in particular.
In December, the counter-terrorism unit issued a statement saying it was dangerous for Israelis to visit Egypt, including Sinai, and called for Israelis to immediately leave Sinai.
Apart from the terror threats along the border, security forces have been involved lately in dealing with a drastic increase in the number of Sudanese refugees trying to infiltrate into Israel.
Several dozen refugees, a security officer stationed along the border said, were caught over the past few months. Some of them, he said, were held in Immigration Police detention centers, while others had received asylum and were allowed to work and live in Israel.
The influx in the number of Sudanese infiltrators, the officer warned, would only continue as long as the government ignored the problem. According to the officer, close to three million Sudanese live and work in Egypt under "slavery-like" conditions, and for them Israel was a land of opportunity.
"We need to solve this problem on a diplomatic level with Egypt, and by being more decisive in sealing the border and preventing refugees from entering," the officer said.
"If we don't deal with this soon, we could soon have thousands knocking at the door at the border trying to get into Israel."
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>