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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gunmen fired shots at Israeli soldiers on Egyptian-Israeli border, no casualties

Israeli-Egypt border

Gunmen opened fire at Israeli bus carrying the soldiers on Sunday. The gunshots came from Egyptian side and were fired across Egyptian-Israeli border. Right after the incident the IDF forces arrived on the area. There were no casualties reported from the both sides, but the bus is damaged, according to Israeli military spokeswoman.

There is not the first attack at Israeli military forces from Sinai. Last summer, on 18 August 2011, eight Israeli citizens were killed on ambush on a desert border road close to resort city Eilat. The attack was conducted by the gunmen who infiltrated from the Gaza Strip via neighboring Egypt’s Sinai desert. Seven of the attackers were killed by Israeli forces, and Egypt lost five its soldier who died in crossfire. This incident sparked the outrageous anger among Egyptians who headed to the streets in protests. They demanded Israeli side to be responsible for the deaths of Egyptian citizens and called for breaking the diplomatic relationships between Egypt and Israel and even for cancelling Camp Davis peace treaty between the two countries. That was very hard and tense moment for diplomatic relations of Egypt and Israel.

One month ago there was another incident on Egypt-Israeli border. The terrorist cell cross the border and detonated the bomb killing Israeli citizen who was working on the building of the defensive wall at the border. Last week IDF forces also shot dead one unarmed man and wounded another two who were trying to cross Egyptian-Israeli border illegally.

Today’s attack which took place in the central sector of the desert frontier, may heighten Israeli fears about the security vacuum in Egypt’s Sinai which could spark the activity of terrorist cells infiltrating from Gaza Strip territory. The fears about the possibility of creating the terrorist base in Sinai are growing since the 2011 uprising which toppled Egypt’s long standing President Hosni Mubarak who was considered being one of the closest Israeli allies in the Middle East. As a result of parliamentary election the Islamists forces built a majority in Egyptian parliament, and later Hosni Mubarak was succeeded by current President Mohamed Morsy who came from Muslim Brotherhood which is traditionally ideologically hostile to Israel. The situation is worsened with security vacuum in Sinai, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even told in April this year that Egypt’s Sinai is like “Wild West”, but there is some confidence that Egypt’s government can restore order in Sinai.

In addition to that the Sinai gas pipeline built to supply gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan was blown up again early in Sunday. This is the 15th incident of such sabotage since the time of uprising which ousted Hosni Mubarak.

In the matter of today’s border attack there is a special commission created to investigate the incident. Egyptian security forces also said there are investigations from their side regarding Israeli claims that the sniper opened fire at IDF bus with soldiers from Egyptian side.