A second explosive-laden bag was found next to the Israel-Egypt border last Thursday, just three days after a previous bomb was discovered, the IDF revealed this week. The latest package was located after “suspicious activity” was spotted by an IDF patrol, according to the IDF Blog. The suspect was able to escape, but a follow-up search of the area turned up the “large explosive device,” which was safely detonated.
“This type of terror activity is directed by terror organizations from the Gaza Strip, who use criminal smuggling routes in the Sinai Peninsula and into Israel,” said the IDF Blog. The IDF did not state which terror group is believed to have been behind the incident.
Terrorism from the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula, which borders both Gaza and Israel, has been a concern for Israel. A major, multi-stage attack in the south of Israel last August was believed to have included terrorists who came from the Sinai.
While the IDF Blog did not detail the most recent incident further, the latest explosives discovery follows one last Monday. In that occasion, the bomb was also in a bag, similar to a duffel bag, and was estimated to have held a few kilograms of explosives and metal balls to intensify the damage of the blast. The Israelis set off that explosive in a controlled detonation as well.
Weak Sinai Security Intentional?
Dr. David Pollock, a former adviser at the US State Department and now the Kaufman fellow at The Washington Institute, told a conference call last week the Egyptian counterterrorism efforts in the Sinai could ultimately weaken under the new government in Cairo.
A political force in post-revolution Egypt is the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood group, which has links to Hamas in Gaza. However, that doesn’t mean the Sinai security-lapses are necessarily intentional.
In the call, which was sponsored by The Israel Project, Pollock said that the Muslim Brotherhood does not like Al Qaeda, which has spread to Gaza and the Sinai, but the Egyptian government has limited resources for fighting groups like them at this time.
“The new Egyptian government is stretched very thin, is preoccupied with other issues, is increasingly short of cash, is not well-coordinated between the civilian and military components and there is unfortunately some real possibility that they will simply abdicate security control over the Sinai, which would allow an Al Qaeda-type element to operate more freely there,” said Pollock.
“Not because they want them to, but because they just don’t have the means or the sort of focus on that issue that the previous Egyptian government did.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, February 27, 2012)