Egyptian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in Rafah city .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel will consider any Egyptian request to deploy additional military forces
in the Sinai in an effort to retake control of the peninsula and weed out a
global jihad terrorist infrastructure, defense officials said on
An Egyptian request was expected to come in the aftermath of a
sophisticated cross-border attack Sunday night that was thwarted by the IDF after
terrorists stole an armored vehicle and infiltrated into Israel. The IDF
revealed on Monday that eight terrorists had been killed and at least six of
them were wearing explosive belts.
The IDF said the attackers were part
of a global jihad terrorist infrastructure operating inside the Sinai that was
made up mostly of local Bedouin.
During the attack, some 35 armed men
stormed an Egyptian military base, killing 16 policemen and soldiers. On Monday,
Egypt branded the attackers “infidels” and vowed to launch a crackdown
throughout the Sinai.
Until now, Israel has permitted the Egyptians to
deploy about seven battalions in the Sinai, although under the peace treaty the
peninsula is meant to remain demilitarized.
The conclusion Jerusalem
hopes the Egyptians will draw is that they will act more forcefully to stamp out
the global jihadi terrorism that is growing there, threatening both Israel and
“Perhaps this will be a necessary wake-up call for the Egyptians
to take matters in their hands in a more serious way,” Defense Minister Ehud
Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who toured the border with
Barak, said the lesson Israel took away from the thwarted terrorist attack was
that it “can and must rely only on itself” for security.
that while it was clear that both Israel and Egypt had an interest in a “quiet
border,” only the IDF and security services could fulfill the role of providing
security for Israel’s citizens.
Netanyahu, near the stolen and burned-out
Egyptian armored jeep, praised the soldiers and officers at the scene for their
“I also want to express my sadness at the killing of the
Egyptian soldiers,” he said.
Later in the day the Foreign Ministry issued
a formal statement conveying the country’s condolences to Egypt and the Egyptian
“This barbaric attack has caused the death of Egyptians, and was
meant to slay Israelis as well,” the statement read.
“Moreover, it aimed
at shattering the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. Peace between the
two countries has been, and still is, an interest common to both peoples; Israel
will continue to act in a spirit of cooperation with Egypt in order to preserve
this vital interest and ensure security and stability in the
Despite the attack and the common interest both countries have
in a quiet border, diplomatic officials were skeptical that it would open the
door to warmer ties with the newly elected Egyptian government.
relationship between the two countries’ security establishments remains intact
and there is contact at the intermediate level in the foreign ministries, there
is no high-level diplomatic contact as there was during Hosni Mubarak’s
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, meanwhile, said the Egyptians
knew very well the significance of Sunday’s attack and what they needed to do,
and did not need Israel’s advice.
Liberman, on a tour of the northern
border with other members of his Israel Beitenu party, said it was clear in
Cairo that the attacks in Sinai were bad for Egypt’s national security, economy
and tourist industry.
“I hope the Egyptians will draw the conclusions,”
Asked whether Israel sent any messages to the new government in
Egypt since the attack, Liberman said that Jerusalem was in daily contact with
“I don't think Egypt needs any advice from us; they alone
understand the significance of these types of actions,” he said.
hope that they draw the conclusions and we see results as fast as possible for
the good of the whole region.”
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