Friday, February 01, 2008

Egypt Thwarts Hamas Attacks On Israelis In Sinai

Egyptian security forces stopped a large group of Hamas fighters who were en route to attack Israeli tourists in the Sinai just as I predicted they would. Earlier this week, reports said Egyptian authorities had arrested five Palestinians with bomb belts who were planning to infiltrate into Israel and carry out suicide attacks.

The terrorist groups crossed over the border into Egypt after Hamas blew up the border wall.

The Egyptians are still trying to figure out how to close the border wall and are claiming that the Rafah crossing will be shut down shortly, although other crossings will remain open.

The Egyptians are still trying to work out something with Fatah and Hamas as far as a deal that would at least restore the status quo on the borders that existed before Hamas decided that the Egyptian wall was a fitting target for urban renewal. So far, they haven't succeeded.

And why should Hamas cooperate anyway? It's in no way to their advantage.

Dr. Reuven Erlich, director of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center an dan expert in the field puts it quite bluntly:

"[Hamas] will not let anyone control the oxygen tube between Egypt and the Gaza Strip," Erlich told Cybercast News Service. It is the only crossing between the Gaza Strip and any Arab country, and through it, the Palestinians receive commodities as well as weapons and operatives.".

Hamas Leader Mahmoud Zahar agrees with Dr. Erlich, and told al-Jazeera television much the same thing: "Egypt is our gate to the Arab, Islamic and entire world," Zahar was quoted as saying. "Therefore we will not allow the crossing to be used as a tool to suffocate the Palestinian people again."

From Israel's standpoint, Egyptian control of the Gaza border and the strategic Philadelphi Corridor has been a farce and the complete opposite of what Israel agreed to in the security agreements crafted by Condi Rice that were supposed to ensure border control when Israel retreated from Gaza. Heavy weapons and fighters have always gotten past the border, and the destruction of the Egyptian border barrier simply makes that task easier and more above board for Hamas.

In an ominous note, Egypt allowed over 2,000 Palestinians who entered Rafah illegally, to travel abroad via Egyptian airports.To understand how bad that is, think for a moment on whom in Gaza would be most likely to have passports and the money for airline tickets.

Meanwhile, the entire 140 mile Egypt-Israel border is now classified by the IDF as a closed military zone, and Israeli forces on the alert for infiltration attempts and attacks emanating from Egypt by Hamas.

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