Saturday, January 05, 2013

5-Jan-13: The headaches from Sinai grow in intensity

One of the hundreds of tunnels controlled by Hamas and
emerging in Gaza [Image Source]
The armed battles that brought down the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi, and turned Libya into a bustling free-for-all market for military equipment and arms, are now delivering up some even more serious problems for us here in Israel. 

In a Friday report, AP says Libya is "awash in weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, automatic rifles and other munitions [that] smugglers have transferred... to Islamic militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula." The absence of any coherent and effective Egyptian control in Sinai (on which we have reported here multiple times in the past 18 months - most recently "30-Oct-12: Egypt's Sinai problem and ours") has turned Sinai into a staging ground for lethal attacks on Israel. 

It's also become the place from which serious weapons are spirited into the terrorist hands of Hamas and its cohorts in neighboring Gaza. Now there's news that 
Egyptian authorities seized six U.S.-made missiles in the Sinai Peninsula Friday... Police working on a tip from local Bedouin discovered the six U.S.-made missiles hidden in a hole in the desert outside the northern Sinai city of el-Arish before dawn on Friday. They said the anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles have a range of up to two kilometers (one mile)... Over the past year, Egypt's Interior Ministry has confiscated hundreds of weapons smuggled from Libya... Last month, security officials seized 17 French-made missiles near el-Arish... before they could be smuggled through tunnels to the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Arab terror groups are steadily upping the stakes in the face of the ongoing anarchy that now prevails in the Sinai Peninsula. So as welcome as it is to know that the Egyptians are taking credit for Friday's weapons seizure, they have a track record of being either unable or unwilling to thwart the efforts of the proliferating jihadist forces there

It's generally understood that the bulk of the more than 1,500 rockets fired at Israeli civilian targets in November's fighting were smuggled into the hands of the Hamas-controlled terrorists via Hamas-controlled tunnels originating in Sinai.

Obvious point: for each announcement of weapons having been intercepted on their way into Gaza, there are dozens, maybe hundreds, not announced and not intercepted. Sinai is a growing and major source of existential terrorist danger to Israelis.

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