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16 Egyptian Soldiers Killed In Attack Near Rafah by a Group that Entered Israel, Just Days After Haniya's Visit to Cairo

It is very clear that the attackers aim at sabotaging the brotherly relations between Egypt and Gaza. It occurred only days after a visit by the elected Palestinian Prime Minister, Isma'il Haniya, in which the Egyptian President agreed to help ease the travel of Palestinian from Gaza Strip.

The only apparent beneficiary is Israel, which wants to keep the Gaza Strip under continuous siege.

Haniya reaches Egyptian intelligence chief on the phone

[ 06/08/2012 - 01:31 PM ]


Palestinian premier in Gaza Ismail Haniya reached Egyptian intelligence chief Murad Muwafi over the phone on Monday to discuss the murder of Egyptian border guards in Sinai.

The government’s spokesman Taher Al-Nunu told the PIC that the “lengthy” phone call focused on the crime.

He said that joint cooperation that protects national security of both the Egyptian and the Palestinian peoples was also discussed.

Abu Marzouk: Closing the Rafah crossing mass punishment

[ 06/08/2012 - 12:51 PM ]


Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas's political bureau, considered the closing of Rafah crossing as a mass punishment, saying that it is a wrong decision.

He called, on his page on the social networking site "Facebook", on Monday for strengthening the Egyptian security control over the entire Sinai Peninsula, and not to abide by the unfair agreements that allow such events on the Egyptian land.

Abu Marzouk said that Sinai’s stability provides security for both the Egyptian and Palestinian peoples.

Abu Marzouk denounces Sinai massacre

[ 06/08/2012 - 08:44 AM ]


Deputy head of Hamas's political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk condemned the attack on Egyptian border guards in the Sinai which claimed the lives of 16 soldiers and rendered many others wounded.

In remarks posted on his facebook page, Abu Marzouk accused the Israeli regime of being involved in the incident, pointing out that Israel knew about the attack in advance and launched a preemptive aerial raid on the perpetrators soon after the incident.

The Hamas official extended deep condolences to the families of the slain soldiers as well as to the Egyptian president and his people.

The information office of Hamas and the Palestinian government in Gaza also issued separately a strong condemnation of the attack and extended condolences to the families of the victims and the Egyptian leadership and people.

Palestinian premier Ismail Haniya, for his part, held yesterday an urgent meeting with the minister of interior Fathi Hammad and other security officials to discuss the developments in this regard.

Spokesman for the government Taher Al-Nunu said briefly at an early hour Monday that the meeting has been ongoing since yesterday and there are intensive contacts with the Egyptian presidency and its intelligence agency to follow up the events and coordinate efforts.

Nunu noted that the government decided to close all tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.

The interior ministry in Gaza deplored in a press release posted on its website the killing of the Egyptian soldiers and described the incident as an attempt to drive a wedge between the Egyptians and the Palestinians in Gaza.

"Such an unfortunate incident points the finger at the Zionist occupation which is trying to tamper with Egypt's security, cause sedition and discord between the Egyptian people and the Gaza Strip people, and foil the achievements of the Egyptian revolution," the ministry stated.

"The border area with Egypt is always secure and guarded from our side and we consider the Egyptian national security a priority and part of our security," it underlined.

A number of Palestinian factions including the popular resistance committees and the Islamic Jihad Movement strongly denounced the attack on the Egyptian soldiers, and stressed the importance of Egypt's national security to Gaza.

They also accused in separate statements Israel of plotting the attack to undermine the good relations between Gaza and Egypt following the revolution.

15 Egyptian Soldiers Killed By Gunmen In Sinai; Israeli Army Kills Seven Gunmen

Monday August 06, 2012 07:20 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

At least 15 Egyptian soldiers were killed, on Sunday evening, while several others were wounded, when gunmen attacked an Egyptian military base in Sinai. The Israeli army also killed seven gunmen, allegedly Palestinian, who reportedly hijacked a military vehicle from the Egyptian military base and attempted to drive through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) Israeli crossing.

The attack took place near border marker number 6, south of the Rafah and Karem Abu Salem crossings.

Eyewitnesses reported that the gunmen infiltrated into the Egyptian military base in the evening as the Egyptian soldiers had just started eating following a long day of fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Egyptian military sources told the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency that “a major terrorist attack targeted an Egyptian military base near the Kerem Shalom Crossing”, and that “Jihadist groups, driving vehicles equipped with automatic weapons and RPG launchers, attacked the base, and managed to kidnap a number of Egyptian soldiers”, according to the sources.

Meanwhile, Israeli military sources claimed that the army “foiled an attempted attack by Palestinian gunmen who tried to infiltrate into Israel through the Kerem Shalom Crossing using the Egyptian military vehicles that were hijacked during the attack against the Egyptian military base”.

The sources added that four gunmen were killed when their hijacked armored vehicle exploded, while three more gunmen were killed when an missile fired from an Israeli fighter jet struck their vehicle. The army sealed the area and scanned it searching for gunmen.

The army further instructed Israeli residents of nearby areas to refrain from leaving their homes, and to follow all instructions by the military.

The Israeli military deployed dozens of military vehicles and soldiers along the border area with Egypt and Gaza, while military helicopters conducted several flights searching for potential infiltrators.

An Israeli military spokesperson denied reports claiming that the gunmen managed to abduct Israeli soldiers, and claimed that the gunmen who attacked the Israeli military base “infiltrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip”.

Furthermore, Israel decided to close the Kerem Shalom Crossing until further notice, while Egypt decided to close the Rafah Border Terminal, also until further notice.

Eyewitnesses reported that Israeli military vehicles, based east of the crossing, fired at least ten shells into areas in southern Gaza, and also fired dozens of flares around the crossing; no injuries were reported.

Furthermore, Lieutenant Safwat az-Zayyat of the Egyptian army, denied Israeli reports claiming that the attack was carried out by jihadist groups, and said that “the escalation on the border was planned by Israel in order to cause rift between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, and to destabilize the situation in Egypt”.

Egyptian President, Mohammad Morsi, called for an urgent meeting with the Egyptian Military Council, while Egypt’s Tourism Minister, Hisham Za’zou’, said that this attack was carried out to sabotage the Egyptian efforts to restore tourism in the country.

In a live statement after midnight, Morsi stated that the Egyptian army and the security forces have been instructed to pursue and apprehend the assailants, wherever they are, and said that “the killers, and anyone who helped them, will pay a heavy price for their crime”.

The al-Jazeera news agency, based in Qatar, stated that Morsi also held a meeting with the Egyptian Defense Minister, General Mohammad Tantawi, along with leaders of the Egyptian Military Council.

Also, an Egyptian security source said that the Egyptian army has the bodies of three assailants who were killed while trying to infiltrate into the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

The Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip denounced the attack against the Egyptian military base describing it as an “ugly and cowardly criminal attack”. It also sent its condolences to the families of the slain soldiers, the Egyptian leadership and the Egyptian people.

Several other Palestinian factions also strongly denounced the attack and said that it “only serves the Israeli interests”.

On his Facebook page, Mousa Abu Marzouq, deputy head of the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement, strongly denounced the attack against the Egyptian military base, and hinted that Israel is behind the attack, also hinting that the Israeli military killed the assailants to cover any tracks of Israeli involvement.

Abu Marzouq further stated that “this attack was carried out shortly after Israel started talking about the lack of security in Sinai, and after it issued warnings about a planned attack along the border area, in addition to instructing its residents not to head to Egypt.

Two days ago, Israel instructed all Israeli tourists to leave Sinai after receiving intelligence information about attacks “planned by Jihadist groups operating in Sinai”.


Israeli strike kills Islamists after Egypt border attack

Unidentified Islamist gunmen killed at least 15 Egyptian policemen at the Egypt-Israel border on Sunday. At least four of the gunmen were later killed when Israeli military aircraft struck an armoured vehicle the Islamists had seized.

Israeli strike kills Islamists after Egypt border attack

Unidentified Islamist gunmen killed at least 15 Egyptian policemen at the Egypt-Israel border on Sunday. At least four of the gunmen were later killed when Israeli military aircraft struck an armoured vehicle the Islamists had seized.

By FRANCE 24 (video) News Wires (text)

REUTERS - Islamist gunmen killed at least 15 Egyptian police on Sunday and seized two military vehicles to attack a crossing point into Israel, the deadliest incident in Egypt's tense Sinai border region in decades.

Israeli aircraft destroyed one of the armored vehicles and four of the gunmen were killed, Egyptian security sources said. Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak called for "determined Egyptian action" to "prevent terror in Sinai".

The attack is an early diplomatic test for Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist who assumed office at the end of June after staunch U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak was overthrown last year in a popular uprising.

It may also complicate Egypt's relations with Hamas, the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip that borders Egypt and Israel who are close to Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, if it is shown that Palestinian gunmen were involved.

Israel has accused Palestinian militants in Gaza of involvement in militant activity in Sinai, where insecurity has grown since Mubarak was toppled.

Mursi has pledged to get a grip on security in Egypt but has yet to prove he can assert control over an entrenched security establishment.

Mursi summoned senior military officials and vowed to respond to the attack. His spokesman said the assailants had not been identified for now.

"Clear orders have been given to our armed forces and police to chase and arrest those who carried out this assault on our children," Mursi said in a speech on state television. "The forces will impose full control over these areas of Sinai."

The Egyptian state news agency quoted a security official as saying the attack was carried out by Islamist militants who infiltrated from Gaza via a tunnel as well as by other militants from two regions in Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

Hamas said it was investigating the incident and had no information so far indicating the gunmen came from Gaza but Taher al-Nono, a spokesman for the Hamas government, said it was closing tunnels along the border with Egypt immediately.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israel Defense Forces and members of the internal security agency had foiled a big attack against Israeli civilians.

"Whoever intends to attack us must know that our long arm will find him," he said in a statement via Twitter.

Dusk ambush

The gunmen ambushed the Egyptian border police who had gathered to break the Muslim Ramadan fast after sunset.

"Elements of a jihad organization drove SUVs into one of the checkpoints south of the Ramah border," Egyptian state television said, referring to the main Gaza-Egypt crossing point. It said 15 security forces personnel were killed and at least 7 wounded.

One of the stolen army vehicles exploded as the militants tried to storm the Israeli border and the second was targeted by the Israeli air force at the Kermes Shalom crossing into southern Gaza, a military zone where the Israeli, Egyptian and Gaza borders intersect, a spokesman for Netanyahu said.

It was not clear how many attackers were involved.

"As of now, we know of no terrorists still in the area. There are some Israeli communities nearby, and residents have been asked to stay in their homes," Israeli military spokeswoman Aviate Leibovich said.

An Egyptian security source said the Ramah crossing had been closed "indefinitely" after the attack.

Fortified border triangle

Netanyahu said in April that Sinai was becoming a lawless "Wild West" but his government has since signaled more confidence in Egypt's ability to restore order.

Jihadi groups have hidden out in the lawless Sinai for almost a decade but security forces hemmed them in under Mubarak.

They became more active after Egypt's uprising of January 2011 with attacks on security posts, military roadbocks and a key gas export pipeline and occasional raids on the heavily defended border with Israel.

The militants, who are mostly members of Bedouin tribes who long complained of neglect by the government in Cairo, say they want to fight Israel to free occupied lands and have links with some jihadi groups in Gaza, according to Egyptian security experts.

Earlier on Sunday, an Israeli air strike killed a Palestinian gunman from a radical Islamist group and wounded another as they rode a motorbike in southern Gaza near the Egyptian border.

It was not immediately possible to confirm whether the incidents were linked.

Hamas, while hostile to Israel, is considered too moderate by many Salafis and has at times clashed with them during law and order drives.

Mursi welcomed Hamas leaders to Cairo last month after he took office but is also keen to show Israel's main ally the United States that Egypt can be a reliable partner that respects its international treaties including its peace deal with Israel.

Date created : 06/08/2012

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