The security establishment is closely monitoring the chaotic situation in Egypt as it fears the Islamic terror raging in the Sinai could spill into Israel’s south.
Israel stepped its preparedness along its border with Egypt and bolstered its military presence following a series of attacks carried out by Islamic State (ISIS) affiliated terrorists in the Sinai on Wednesday, which left scores dead.
Israel shut down its borders with Gaza and Egypt following a wide-scale, coordinated assault by Islamic terrorists on several military points in Egypt’s North Sinai on Wednesday, in which scores of people were killed. This was the largest attack yet in the insurgency-hit province.
Israel also issued a warning to communities situated near the border with Egypt and has reportedly restricted civilian travel in the area. Residents were asked to update the security services on any unusual incidents.
Wednesday’s deadly battles occurred in close proximity to Israel’s border, and residents of the south were able to hear the explosions and see the smoke billowing from the battlefield.
Israel fears that the chaos in Egypt will spill over into the south of the country and that ISIS terrorists will execute terror attacks against Israeli targets as well. In particular, ISIS terrorists have captured armored vehicles during Wednesday’s battles, and security officials believe they may be used against Israel.
Speaking to IDF Radio on Thursday, Amos Gilad, director of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau at the Defense Ministry and a retired IDF general, said that Israel should assume that ISIS is working with Hamas in Gaza. Security officials said that the Hamas terror organization has aided ISIS in attacks on Egypt.
Hamas now controls Gaza, but Israel should closely monitor the situation, Gilad cautioned. “Murderous elements can fight each other while cooperating to fight whom they perceive as a mutual enemy,” he said.
Hamas has reportedly been suppressing ISIS’ presence in Gaza in an attempt to solidify its control. ISIS, meanwhile, has fired rockets on Israel.
“We see ISIS at the gates – across the border in the Golan, across the border in Egypt. We send our condolences to the government and people of Egypt for the fallen Egyptians slain by ISIS terror,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated.
Israel’s border with Egypt has so far been comparatively quiet. There have been only a few cross-border terror attacks over recent years, and terror organizations have occasionally fired rockets at Israel’s southern city of Eilat from the Sinai.
Israel is reportedly working closely with Egyptian intelligence officials and is aiding them in their battle against the wave of Islamic terror in the Peninsula, allowing Egypt to boost its military presence in the Sinai beyond what had been agreed upon in the 1979 peace accords.
Egypt continued with its aerial attacks on terrorist positions on Thursday.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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