Monday, July 15, 2013

15-Jul-13: In Sinai, the rising tension erupts in shooting and killing, hardly noted anywhere except in the region

The bus that came under lethal attack today in El Arish [Image Source]
For Israelis, the chaos in Egypt is not only Cairo-based. As we have done here for the past two years, the focus from Israel is to a great extent on Sinai which borders on Gaza and Israel. And there's plenty to keep Israelis concerned there today.

Ynet says this morning that three people "at least" were killed and 17 injured in the early hours of today, Monday, in the North Sinai province of the desert peninsula. Attackers using rocket-propelled grenades struck a bus carrying workers employed at a cement factory in El Arish where several other recent attacks have been centered. The news channel quotes eye witnesses who say the attackers shouted "Allahu Akbar". From the Egyptian military, a spokesman says the target was actually the security forces and that bus was hit by mistake.

Then later this morning, a car exploded near an Egyptian army post adjacent to the Egypt/Israel border, killing one man who, according to Egypt's military quoted by Al-Ahram, belonged to a terror cell and who was planting explosives.

Yesterday, there was an eruption of gunfire right from the Egyptian side of the Israel-Egypt border near Kadesh Barnea which was itself the scene of a major terrorist attack on Israel in 2012. In yesterday's incident, according to the Jerusalem Post, the IDF declared a state of alert and warned Israeli residents to stay in their homes. No casualties were reported on the Israeli side of the border. The Egyptians meanwhile said their army
has killed 37 terrorists and wounded 42 so far in their security operation in the Sinai. Unidentified gunmen attacked four army and police checkpoints in Rafah and Arish while gunmen fired at an army checkpoint in front of the Rafah municipal council using RPG launchers and attacked Sukkar, Al-Mahager, and Al Matar checkpoints on Al-Arish ring road. Two soldiers were injured in these attacks, according to the report.
And this past Friday (Al-Ahram again), a policeman died in a terror attack on a government checkpoint in Sinai. The week before, "at least ten other policemen [were killed] in different assaults".

Violence, which has been a little-reported constant in Egyptian Sinai since the fall of Mubarak two years ago, has risen sharply in the weeks since the Morsi-led Moslem Brotherhood government was overthrow. Sinai terrorists have attacked security checkpoints and other targets on an almost daily basis, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens.

Arab on Arab violence of this kind tends not to overly vex the international media. In Israel, the waves are more immediate, more threatening, and more felt.

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