Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Report: Western Security Officials Confirm Israel, Egypt Armies Battling Terrorists Together in Sinai

August 14, 2013 11:46 am 8 comments

Satellite image of the Sinai.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed Western security officials, confirmed media speculation that this weekend’s onslaught against terrorists in the Sinai came through coordination between Egyptian and Israeli security forces, although neither side would confirm that they work with the other.

“Israel’s intervention in the Sinai Peninsula—which Egyptian officials denied, and which Israeli officials neither confirmed nor denied—would be the clearest manifestation of the high-level interaction between Israeli and Egyptian military and intelligence chiefs, according to the Western officials. Such cooperation between the U.S. allies has increased since last month’s ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, these officials say,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

On Friday, the Associated Press cited two senior Egyptian security officials as saying an Israeli drone strike inside of Egypt in the troubled Sinai Peninsula had killed five suspected terrorists preparing to launch rockets into Israel. AFP cited the Egyptian military as saying that it coordinated the strike with the Israel Defense Forces.

“The attack was preceded by communications between senior Israeli security officials and their Egyptian counterparts” who “discussed the threat posed by the rocket crew and response options,” the WSJ reported.

“The understanding on both sides is that Israel will take direct action only as a last resort if the Egyptians aren’t in a position to stop an imminent threat from the Sinai,” said Western officials cited by the newspaper, “Such an Israeli intervention would be ‘very rare’ because of Egyptian sensitivities.”

“The arrangement shows the extent to which the Israeli and Egyptian militaries have closed ranks against militants massing on the peninsula,” the WSJ said.

On Sunday, in Sheikh Zuweid, North Sinai, Reuters’ Aswat Masriya website reported that the Egyptian army killed 15-17 militants in an “anti-terrorist” military operation. For two hours late on Saturday evening army Apache helicopters targeted “terrorist” sites in the town of Al-Thoma, south of Sheikh Zuweid and the army used loudspeakers to warn citizens against leaving their homes to shield themselves from rocket fire from military helicopters.

The WSJ cited a “senior Israeli official,” who declined to comment on any understanding between the two countries, but said the security situation in Sinai represents a threat to both countries. “We are respectful of Egyptian sovereignty in Sinai and we are very supportive of Egyptian efforts to deal with these challenges and we have good military to military cooperation,” the official told the WSJ.

“A senior American official” described military cooperation between Israel and Egypt as “better than ever,” the WSJ said.

Since the overthrow of Morsi’s Mulsim Brotherhood regime in Egypt last month, the Egyptian and Israel forces have worked, according to the the New York Times, to close 80% of the tunnels in Sinai that had been used for smuggling goods and weapons to Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist ally, in Gaza.

At a press conference in July, Major General Osama Askar, commander of Egypt’s Third Army, accused Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, of attempting to smuggle 19 Grad rockets from Gaza. Egyptian soldiers intercepted the rocket shipment along the Suez-Cairo highway, which Askar charged was on its way to Cairo to help the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ala Al-Rafati, Hamas’s economy minister, told Reuters last month that tunnel closures since June had cost Gaza around $230 million – approximately a tenth of the GDP of the territory.

In exchange for allowing the IDF to help Egypt control the Sinai, the WSJ cited “Western officials” as saying Israel has lobbied in Washington on behalf of protecting “U.S. military aid to Egypt despite the army’s ouster of the president, arguing that the money helps underpin the 1979 peace accord between the two countries. If U.S. aid is cut off, the Egyptian military could start scaling back their cooperation, Israeli officials have warned their American counterparts.”

The newspaper said Egypt’s new national security adviser, Raafat Shehata,  and Gen. Nader al-Aasar, who was recently promoted to head Egyptian intelligence’s international relations branch, both have ties to Israeli intelligence, and “helped facilitate the agreement between Egypt and Israel to make an exception to the three-decade-old Camp David peace treaty and allow Egypt to send a surge of military forces into the Sinai to combat the growing militant threat there, the Western officials said.”

“Israel’s military uses real-time images along the border with the Sinai from blimps, drone aircraft and satellites to spot potential threats, as was the case on Friday,” according to Western officials cited by the Journal.

The newspaper quoted Anthony Cordesman, a defense expert at Center for Strategic & International Studies, as saying that the cooperation reflected a convergence of interests. “There is a real risk that the Sinai will become an area where the Egyptian military and police are going to lose their freedom of action and ability to move,” he said. “And it’s clear that Israel has every possible interest in stopping that from happening.”

8 Comments

  • Mr. Obama is like a flame moving from country to country burning everything he can burn. In my opinion better america and western power keep off their hand in Egypt other wise thursty Russia and China will come and arm these against the new govt.of egypt.
    The reality these powerful nation are roaming around like wolf looking for their frey then after that they will spit the fire until it become a full blown fire.
    The last to suffer is the innocent civilian, children and women who is always helpless.

  • Why battle al-CIA-da terrorism in the Sinai, why not battle terrorism from where it originates, that is, CIA headquarters and the Vatican NWO gov mafia.

  • I wouldn’t trust the Obama Government as far as I could throw them. Obama is a Communist hiding behind Socialism. He is destroying the US.

  • I would not trust Obama & his adviser. USA can be treacherous with the best.

  • It is my view that the appearance of obama being against sisi is a red herring for the street. I believe he gave sisi the green light for the coup. He cannot be seen to be undermining a democratically elected govt but Morsi was not cooperative enough on the sinai and on hamas. The GCC (Qatar/saudi) fund sisi and MB. Obama funded and trained AQ with GCC for almost 2 years while pretending to sit on the fence re arming syrian “rebels”. The Obama/GCC alliance allows the GCC to do what obama cannot be seen to do. israel is also cooperating with the GCC in the gaza cease fire and on Syria.

    • Saudi hates the MB and never funded them as Qatar has done. The proof is that they gave Egypt several billion dollars in assistance immediately after the removal of Morsi

  • Mubarak was a loyal ally but he was not adverse to anti Israel sentiment on the street. Qaddafi while sending envoys to Israel to call off the US coming attack and offering all sorts or concessions to Israel, was calling for a third intifada. His son trying to get street cred over his brothers was starting to send flotilla’s to Gaza. Assad said no uprising in Syria because of his anti-Israel stance. So the Hamas charges against Morsi are a two way bet, if things go bad they will do what they all always do turn on Israel to try to save themselves. So if the 1.3 billion gets cut off I would be seeking it redirect to Israel. Sinai is a problem more to the Suez than to Israel hence the railway. So you could see Egypt broken up into three states north, south and east via a civil war. And the Suez impassable. For 1.3 billion they can use the railway of course the Chinese are first cab off the rank as they are paying for it and building it.

  • Israel and Egypt, under the military rule, go against the Obama doctrine…Cooperation without US mediation. That´s a gambit that US was not expecting. Obama wanted the MB in power, foes of Israel, so he could manipulate the two countries relations, as it happened during the last Gaza war. Al-Sissi in power is a good thing for both countries (less for the MB, Hamas and Obama). Egypt can receive help from Israel, military (intelligence and possibly air support) and politically, since Israel still has friends (congresspersons that are still able to think) in both Houses that could oppose counter maneuver by Obama. The Sultan will take his revenge along the PA-Israel so-called “peace conversations”. Wait and see.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features World Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Tour operators are calling attention to Jamaica’s little-known Jewish heritage by arranging visits to historic Jewish sites on the Caribbean island, including a cemetery where Jewish pirates are buried. A report in Travel and Leisure magazine describes the Hunts Bay Cemetery in Kingston, where there are seven tombstones engraved with Hebrew benedictions and skull and crossbones insignia. According to the report, centuries ago, Jewish pirates sailed the waters of Jamaica and settled in Port Royal. The town, once known as “the wickedest city in the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    JNS.org – Telling Israel’s story. It’s the specific title of a short film that Eyal Resh created last year. It’s also the theme behind the 27-year-old Israeli filmmaker’s broader body of work. The widely viewed “Telling Israel’s Story” film—directed by Resh for a gala event hosted by the Times of Israel online news outlet—seemingly begins as a promotional tourism video, but quickly evolves to offer a multilayered perspective. “I want to tell you a story about a special place for me,” a young woman whispers […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    JNS.org – The entrance to Jerusalem’s Sacher Park was transformed from April 25-27 by a fire-breathing robotic dragon, which flailed its arms and attempted to take flight. The robot, a signature feature at Jerusalem’s first-ever “Geek Picnic,” was one of more than 150 scientific amusements available for the public to experience. This particular dragon was designed by students from Moscow’s Art Industrial Institute in conjunction with the Flacon design factory, said Anatasia Shaminer, a student who helped facilitate the display. Children […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →