Tuesday, July 23, 2013

23-Jul-13: Does what happens in Sinai stay in Sinai?

At National Geographic, they have no problem locating those
Gazan tunnels [Image Source: NG]
The Sinai peninsula, the part of Egypt that is closest to, and has the greatest immediate impact on, Israel is ablaze. Looking closely at what happens there is enough to cause real trepidation for us Israelis. We have watched (and written in this blog) about its slide into chaos for years. Now it's getting worse.

Yesterday (Monday) was a bad day, as the editors at The Tower (quoting Bloomberg, VOA and Al Arabiya noted:
At least six Egyptians were killed on Monday in a string of attacks carried out against police station and army checkpoints in the Sinai Peninsula. The attacks, conducted by Islamists, added up to the single worst day of violence this month: At least 10 attacks were carried out by Islamist militants against police stations and security and army checkpoints in Sinai’s two main northern cities of Rafah and El-Arish near Egypt’s borders with Israel and the Gaza strip . Two civilians, two army officers and two policemen were killed, Reuters reported. Over the weekend gunmen killed four security officials in separate attacks in the northern city of el-Arish. Earlier Monday at least six people – five policemen and one civilian – were wounded in an attack on a security camp near Rafah.
The violence has grown from an already high base since the overthrow of the Mohammed Morsi/Moslem Brotherhood regime earlier this month.

From VOA:
The pace of attacks on security forces in the northern Sinai by Islamists loyal to former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has intensified since the army ousted him from power more than two weeks ago. About 20 people have died in the attacks, including soldiers and civilians.
Doesn't (of course) come remotely close to most of the other current Arab-on-Arab bloodbaths, like the one in Syria. But given the cast of thugs involved in this, it's worrying enough. At The Tower, they say
The Egyptian army blames the Iran-backed terror group Hamas for the much of the violence, accusing the group of maintaining tunnels between the Sinai and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip through which jihadists move personnel and weapons.
And at Al Arabiya, they speak of Egyptian efforts to stem the Hamas element in this:
Earlier this month, an Egyptian senior military official claimed 40 tunnels connecting Gaza and Sinai were destroyed as part of the effort to crackdown on terrorism in the region.
Unfortunately, there are orders of magnitude more Gazan tunnels than the 40 that the Egyptians say they destroyed.

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