Terror Groups Bolder in Sinai and Gaza
While Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) fights the Moslem Brotherhood for political control of the country, terrorist groups in the Sinai and Gaza are launching attacks against Israel. It started on Monday, June 18, when a terrorist cell struck at Israeli defense contractors working on a new fence along the porous border between Israel and Egypt. Sinai Bedouins collaborating with Global Jihad terrorists set an ambush against the Israeli workers. They threw explosives at the fence, then fired an RPG rocket. An Israeli worker was killed at the scene.
On the days following, except for a brief cease-fire arranged by Egypt, more than 120 rockets launched from Gaza landed in southern Israel, further terrorizing border communities. Hamas, Global Jihad, Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda sympathizers, Salafists, Bedouins, and Palestinian resistance groups have all gotten involved in these attacks against the Jewish State. Islamic extremists operating out of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip are sending a clear message to Cairo that they are powers to contend with in any future deal for the leadership of Egypt.
While the IDF fights back, and the death toll increases among the terrorists launching these operations against Israel, it has been a nightmare for more than one million Israelis. They have had to scramble to available bomb shelters day and night when their southern communities come under attack.
The Israeli government is also greatly concerned that Israel's enemies are continuing to build-up their weapons arsenals through arms smuggling. Advanced Katyushas and Grads, Iranian-made Fajr-3 rockets, anti-tank missiles and heavy mortars are being smuggled through underground tunnels from Egypt to the Sinai and to Gaza; stored and used for attacks against the Jewish State.
Reportedly, Sinai Bedouins who are operating terrorist cells in the region, are in possession of large arsenals of Libyan-made heavy machine guns, advanced Grads, anti-aircraft missiles, and RPG rockets and launchers. Their goal is to keep Israel from building the new fence along the Philadelphi Corridor. These Bedouins are receiving millions of dollars to smuggle humans, weapons, drugs, and terrorists through breaches in the old fence.
Before this latest war of attrition began, 44 Israelis lost their lives over the past six years to Gaza rocket fire; more than 1600 suffered injuries during that time period. Some Israelis lost limbs during these rocket attacks or became paralyzed as a result of shrapnel hitting them in the back. These are the reports that rarely make headlines.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have both warned that the IDF will continue to defend the nation and fight back against any threat to the homeland. Barak spoke of a disturbing deterioration in Egyptian control of the Sinai. He insisted that whoever is considered the winner of Egypt's elections must take responsibility for all of Egypt's international commitments, including the peace treaty with Israel and the security arrangements in the Sinai. Meanwhile, the IDF is fortifying positions in the South and is ready to launch an offensive into Gaza, if necessary.
Recently, Netanyahu reiterated his support for the new fence along the Egyptian-Israeli border. When completed, it is expected to keep the terrorists out. "I believe that if we hadn't decided two years ago to build the fence, we would be facing a flood of infiltrators and -- no less than this -- a flood of terrorism."
Israel's Defense Ministry Director-General Udi Shani stated: "The terrorists aim was to stop the construction of the fence, but our job is to finish it as quickly as possible in order to prevent terrorists from infiltrating into Israeli territory in the future."
Had the fence been completed already, it might have prevented the recent ambush against Israeli defense ministry contract workers along the border. As a precautionary measure, Israel has, once again, closed Route 12 north of Eilat. After a terrorist attack along that route last August, that killed eight Israelis, the IDF has been monitoring the area for additional terrorist cells. Israel is also planning to beef-up counter-terrorism operations along the border with Egypt.
As long as the Egyptian government remains unstable, Israel can expect that terrorists operating out of the Sinai and Gaza will take advantage of the chaotic situation in the South. They will continue to try and confront Israel until someone in Cairo takes up the ruling leadership and begins to exert influence and power over the region. In the meantime, terrorists operating out of this area can expect that Israel's defense forces will be diligent to strike them down and stop them from launching future attacks against the Jewish State.
"Arise, O Lord! Do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men." Psalm 9:19-20
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues in Israel and the nations.
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