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Amid Egypt turmoil, Israel casts its eye on violent Sinai region

By Gideon Allon, Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom/

Click photo to download. The border fence along the Israel-Egypt border, built in 2012. Israel is monitoring the situation in the Sinai region amid turmoil in Egypt following president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. Credit: Idobi via Wikimedia Commons.

Israel should do all it can to help the new secular
government in Egypt beat the Muslim Brotherhood, even if that means amending
the Military Annex of the Camp David peace accords to allow more Egyptian
military assets into the Sinai Peninsula, the former director of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism
Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office Brig. Gen. (Res.) Nitzan Nuriel said

Speaking to Army
, Nuriel said a defeat for the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters
in the Sinai would reverberate across the Middle East, and would be of huge
strategic importance to Israel.

Pointing to increasing instability in the Sinai, Israeli Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Avigdor Lieberman (Likud-Beytenu)
warned over the weekend that jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula are taking
advantage of the current turmoil in Egypt to stage attacks on Israel.

“What is transpiring in Egypt should in no doubt be
worrying us,” he said. “This is our largest neighboring country, the first one
we signed a peace agreement with, and clearly instability over there carries
implications for the entire region. It is in our interest for Egypt to be
stable and in full control over its territory.”

A Salafi terror group took responsibility for rocket fire
on Eilat last Thursday. The Sunni extremist group Jamaat Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis
stated in a message from its Sinai base that the group would continue to target

“Jews, enemies of Allah, are those who are responsible
for what is happening in Egypt and their long arm is to blame for the current
situation,” the statement said. “We bombed them to scare them and let them know
that Allah is with us.”

In addition, a new Islamist terrorist group in the Sinai calling
itself Ansar al-Shariah announced its formation amid the chaos. The group, in a
statement posted on an online forum for terrorists, said it would gather arms
and start training its members, Reuters reported.
The group blamed the turmoil in Egypt on secularists, Egyptian Coptic
Christians, state security forces and army commanders.

Ansar al-Shariah denounced democracy and said it would
instead champion Islamic law (sharia), acquire weapons, and train Muslims to “deter
the attackers, preserve the religion and empower the sharia.”

An Israeli defense official told Israel Radio on Saturday that the global jihad call to fight the
Egyptian army over the weekend will “lead the army to take further action
against Islamist elements and make a determined effort to restore order.”

Last week, Egypt sealed numerous tunnels to prevent arms
smuggling from Sinai into Egypt that may destabilize the mainland. The Israeli
defense official told Israel Radio
that while events in Egypt were a blow to Hamas, the terror group would
continue to maintain its cease-fire with Israel because it is in Hamas’s own
interests to do so.

Meanwhile, Egyptian security officials say suspected
Islamic terrorists have bombed a natural gas pipeline to Jordan south of the
city of el-Arish in the Sinai Peninsula.

In addition to starting fires that were quickly put out,
the attacks early Sunday on …read more

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Posted by on July 9, 2013. Filed under Breaking News,Israeli News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.