EDITORIAL: Some may consider the southern Israel ambushes another set of terror attacks. But if al Qaeda was involved, as early reports indicate, this could be a watershed moment.
The first known successful terror attacks on Israeli soil linked to the organization could foreshadow the creation of a terrorist state in the Sinai peninsula. It’s probably best we pay attention.
Two of 10 vacationers killed (27 were injured) were children, ages 6 and 4, and another a solder, according to media reports. Dozens have been injured by the attackers, one of whom calls itself “al Qaeda in the Egyptian Sinai.”
Not everyone is convinced of the link – not yet.
“There is no connection between Egyptian extremists and al Qaeda’s headquarters in Pakistan and Afghanistan or other radical jihad movements worldwide,” Khalil Al Anani an author and specialist in political Islamic affairs, told Deutsche Welle. “There are ideological touchstones, but there is no organizational coordination between them.”Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor
Still, as we near a horrid anniversary here in the United States, the Sinai peninsula is ready to boil over in anarchy following the collapse of deposed President Husni Mubarak’s regime. Nothing is stopping radical Islamists from joining forces with al Qaeda to use the Sinai as a staging ground.
Some of them are already issuing proclamations to not only nullify all of Egypt’s treaties with Israel but to take arms against the country in defense of Gaza Palestinians – something many Palestinians might not necessarily want at the moment.
What’s more, protesters have laid siege to the Israeli consulate, where they are flying the Egyptian and Palestinian flags.
“Gone forever are the days when Israel will kill our children while we do not respond,” Amr Moussa, the former head of the Arab League, tweeted to his supporters.
The 1979 Camp David peace accords limits the Egyptian military’s incursion along much of its border with Israel. And while Israeli officials say they have tried to avoid crossing the border as well, a retaliatory air strike in Gaza killed as few as five and as many as nine soldiers, in addition to a 9-year-old boy, according to Egyptian media.
Israel has also warned vacationing citizens to evacuate the Sinai, once a popular tourist spot. Its National Security Council says the attacks are warranted because they target terrorists trying to make inroads into Israel.
Witnesses to one of the attacks said a 60-year-old bus driver saved lives by continuing through the hail of gunfire, while a few soldiers on board fired back at the terrorist.
“The bullets hit the bus and two of them shattered the window near me, passed just above my head and hit the ceiling,” the driver told Ynet. “I am experienced enough to know that I should keep driving and that I mustn’t stop so that the damage doesn’t get worse.”
For more information, go to Jeff Dunetz’s The Lid blog
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