Ya'alon neither confirms nor denies Israeli involvement in Sinai

Defense minister addresses attack in Rafah in which four were killed, says rumors regarding Israeli responsibility will not affect ties with Egypt. Refuses to confirm or deny Israeli involvement in attack

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Saturday addressed Friday's attack in Sinai, but avoided any confirmation or denial of Israel's involvement in the attack.


Referring to the strike in Egypt's Rafah in which at least four jihadists were killed, Ya'alon said: "The State of Israel respects the sovereignty of Egypt and is aware of the Egyptian military's bolstered activity against terror in the Sinai Peninsula. We will not allow rumors and speculations, which have developed in the past 24 hours, to harm the peace treaty between the two countries."


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On Friday, The Palestinian news agency Maan reported a loud explosion was heard on in the Egyptian side of Rafah near the Israeli border, in the vicinity of the Kerem Shalom Crossing.


An Egyptian army source told the agency that an Israeli drone bombed ready-to-launch rockets deployed on Thursday in a desert area in the town, following a fly-over in which the rockets were detected.


The IDF refused to address the reports.


Funeral of 4 jihadists killed in Sinai attack (Photo: Reuters)
Funeral of 4 jihadists killed in Sinai attack (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has published a statement slamming the army, with which it has faced off against in violent clashes since the army deposed Mohamed Morsi from the Egyptian presidency.


Taking a strongly worded jab at the army, Muslim Brotherhood Media Spokesman Dr. Ahmed Aref published a statement saying there was ongoing attempts within the army to redefine 'enemy' in a bid to turn the army's power inwards through the use of propaganda and lies.


According to the New York Times, the northern Sinai Peninsula, long a relatively lawless zone, has become a dark harbinger of what could follow elsewhere in Egypt if the interim government cannot peacefully resolve its standoff with the Islamist protesters camped out in Cairo.


If the reports of an Israeli drone attacking a terror cell preparing to launch a rocket into Israel from Egypt are true then it would be the first time since Egypt and Israel signed their peace treaty in 1979 that Israel's forces have operated within Sinai, or Egypt for that matter – except a single incident during the terror attack along Route 12 two years ago. Like now, at the time, an Israel aircraft – according to Egyptian media reports, a helicopter – entered into Egypt, fired on terrorist but also at Egyptian soldiers, who return fire with a rocket in its direction.


Ron Ben-Yishai and Elior Levy contributed to this report.



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פרסום ראשון: 08.10.13, 22:56
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