“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom.” (Isaiah 19:1)
Egypt declared a state of war and a level-three state of emergency following simultaneous attacks from an Islamic State affiliate based in Sinai. About 100 soldiers and civilians died during the wave of suicide bombings and other attacks.
According to Egyptian military spokesman Mohammed Samir Abdelaziz Ghaneem, on Wednesday, “70 terrorists attacked 5 checkpoints simultaneously in North Sinai. (Breitbart)” The military also stated that Egyptian troops had killed 22 jihadists in response.
In the coordinated effort, most likely with weaponry help from Hamas, the Islamic State group targeted checkpoints and an officer’s club with suicide bombers and attacked 15 army and police positions using car bombs, anti-tank missiles, one or more anti-aircraft missiles, machine guns, and other weapons. (Times of Israel)
Reports indicate that some fighting is also taking place in major cities like Cairo, Faiyum, El Arish and Rafah.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged the proximity of the warfare to Israel.
“Terrorism is knocking on our borders,” he said, referring both to the broader terror threat from ISIS-affiliated groups in the Sinai and threats in the north.
“ISIS is not just opposite the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said. “At the moment it is also in Egypt, opposite Rafah, facing our borders, and we are joined with Egypt and with many other countries in the Middle East and the world in the struggle against the extremist Islamic terrorism that is guided by two elements—Iran and the Shiite extremists, and ISIS and the Sunni extremists—as well as other factions such as Hamas.”
On Thursday, he said, “Up until several months ago, when we said that ISIS was carrying out actions on our borders, people were skeptical. And here we see before our very eyes ISIS operating with unusual brutality on both our northern and southern borders.”
Israel has not been unaffected by the fighting. Sinai militants fired rockets into southern Israel on Friday.
Islamic State’s Egypt affiliate, Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province), said that it had launched three Grad rockets at “occupied Palestine.” There was no damage and Israel found the remains of two rockets.
Because of the fighting in the Sinai, on Friday morning, the Israel Defense Forces closed Israel’s Highway 12 until further notice. The highway runs along the border with Egypt.
Israeli intelligence has reported that Hamas is providing weapons and aid to the Sinai-based Islamic State group. (TOI)
Although an annex to the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords bars Egypt from keeping significant forces in the Sinai peninsula, particularly the Northern area, “it took one phone call from Cairo to Jerusalem to authorize whatever Egypt wants in Sinai,” an unnamed Israeli official told the Times of Israel. “It is clear to the [Egyptian] leadership that not only is Israel not an enemy, it’s an ally.”