A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are Today's Attacks in Israel Spillover from Sinai?

A series of terror attacks against a bus and other Israeli targets along the Egyptian-Israeli border near Eilat has led to Israeli retaliation against Gaza, but also seems likely to be linked to the ongoing Egyptian efforts to re-establish authority in Sinai. Israel says the attackers originated in Gaza but infiltrated via Sinai. Hamas in Gaza is claiming they were not involved.

Egypt has claimed pro-Al-Qa‘ida  terrorists are operating in Sinai, and is likely to blame them for this incident, while Israel is blaming Hamas in Gaza. Cross-border incidents involving Egyptian territory are particularly explosive since it underscores Egypt's difficulties in controlling its own border. (The border between the Sinai and the Negev is just a line drawn across the desert, and hard to secure.) It also raises the tension between Egypt and Israel and a time Egypt hardly wants a crisis.

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