The Israeli foreign minister has said that the number of Egyptian soldiers in Sinai is enough to eliminate terrorism. In an interview with an Israeli radio station, he said that Egypt has enough forces in the peninsula to fight terrorism; it only needs to take a decision to do so.
The Jerusalem Post newspaper quoted officials from the Israeli army saying that they will look into any request from the Egyptian government to deploy additional forces to eradicate terrorist organizations and control the security situation.
However, Israeli officials have also stated that Israel does not intent to change the Camp David Accords and to allow more forces into Sinai to combat terrorism.
The army’s moves
The hands of the Egyptian army were tied behind its back while Mohammed Mursi was in office because he was eager to ensure the safety and security of terrorists from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who are part of the Hamas organization.
These terrorists managed to smuggle Mursi out of Wadi el-Natrun prison at the cost of the lives of a number of prisoners and prison guards.
The Egyptian army, which managed to remove Mursi from power in the June 30 revolution which was supported by the Egyptian people, took precautionary measures and deployed heavy forces in the heart of Sinai because they expected trouble from the terrorists hiding in the peninsula.
A few days ago, the Egyptian army destroyed three tunnels on the border with Gaza which were used to smuggle fuel into the Gaza Strip. The army closed these tunnels and destroyed the fuel pumps. An official from the Egyptian army said that they would destroy any new tunnel they find.
Hamas should realize that they have forever lost any support from Egypt
Egyptian helicopters are still flying over areas in El-Arish, Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid and the coastal areas and areas in the south to monitor the movement of terrorist groups. The Egyptian army said that an area south of Sheikh Zuweid witnessed a shootout between an unknown terrorist group hiding in the area and a security checkpoint.
The terrorists escaped from the area when aerial support arrived and no one was injured during the incident. The Egyptian army also foiled an attempt to bomb an abandoned church in Rafah.
Hamas and the MB
The attempt to assassinate the commander of the second Egyptian army in Sinai revealed the relationship between extreme Palestinian groups and the terrorist Jihadi group in Sinai. Hamas stated previously that they would not get involved in the internal affairs of Egypt.
Hamas issued a directive to the spokesmen of all its officials not to comment on the removal of Mursi from power. However, they made no attempt to hide their extreme joy when Mursi was elected and the streets of Gaza were filled with Mursi’s pictures.
Events, however, revealed that fighters from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades launched attacks against the Egyptian people and the Egyptian army.
Strategic and military experts have warned that the Muslim Brotherhood will use the same strategies as Hamas in setting off explosions and then accusing the army and republic guard of spreading chaos.
The website of Israel’s Channel 10 quoted Israeli sources as saying that they fear that Hamas might disavow the peace agreement signed with Israel after the Israeli military operation in Gaza in 2012.
The same Israeli sources said that in the past year Hamas benefitted from the Muslim Brotherhood being in power in Egypt, but that the situation is being re-evaluated now that Mursi has been removed from power.
Palestinians in the West Bank have noted a conspiracy by Hamas against the Egyptian army. Azzam Al-Ahmad, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that the strength of the Palestinian people is derived from the power of Egypt.
He said that countries should not interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt and that any harm to Egypt will harm the Palestinian cause. He said that recent developments in Egypt show that the Egyptian people are making history.
He said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked Ramadan Shallah, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to ask Hamas not to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt.
Mahmoud Abbas will also meet with officials to discuss the intervention of Hamas in Egyptian internal affairs.
Hamas should realize that they have forever lost any support from Egypt and that the Egyptian people of the Jan 25 and June 30 revolutions will not sympathize with Hamas and the Palestinian cause and that any Egyptian-Palestinian agreement will be scrutinized carefully.
This article was first published in The Saudi Gazette on July 18, 2013.
Hassan Tahsin is a veteran Egyptian writer and a regular contributor to pan-Arab newspapers, including the Saudi Gazette. His writing focuses on Middle East conflicts. Tahsin’s political analysis particularly centers on Arab-Israeli relations on a regional level, and Egypt’s domestic and foreign policies, including ties with the Western world. Tahsin can be reached at email@example.com.