When ISIS-aligned terrorists were threatening to start their own mini-terror state inside Egyptian territory, it was Israel who played a critical role in beating them back and enabling the Egyptian military to recover—hitting those terrorists in more than 100 covert airstrikes approved by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, according to The New York Times. The foreign press report on Saturday noted that the main terror group in the Egyptian Sinai region that borders Israel—Ansar Beit al Maqdis—had made terrifying headlines in a span of just over two years, inspiring the secret Israel-Egypt cooperation that began in late 2015.
From summer 2013 until October 2015, the terror group killed hundreds of Egyptian security personnel, announced they were an extension of the Islamic State (ISIS or IS), temporarily took over a town in Sinai, and brought down a Russian passenger plane, killing hundreds.
In late 2015, Israel began the airstrikes. The New York Times report—which cited current and former officials from the United States and Britain because the Israelis and Egyptians refuse to comment on the sensitive operation—said Israel used unmarked helicopters, drones and jets to ultimately turn the tide in the fight. While Israel still hasn’t made the actions public, a day after the Times’ report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted the important role Israel has played in fighting the Islamic State terror group.
“The IDF is the strongest military in the Middle East and this is a good thing because we face many challenges,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. He said he has made clear to US President Donald Trump, European leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin that “our presence here is the main element in the Middle East blocking the spread of radical Islam, led by Iran and Islamic State, which also threaten all other elements in the world.”
Part of their counterterrorism success includes killing a long line of terror leaders in the Sinai ISIS-inspired group, The New York Times reported.
Now, it looks like the terror group that once was trying to conquer territory in Egypt is now pursuing easier goals and softer targets, such as churches and a brutal mass killing at a mosque. While the fight isn’t over, it isn’t trending in the terrorists’ direction anymore either.
On Sunday, Netanyahu made it clear that violence isn’t something they seek—but they won’t be passive in the face of threats. Said the Israeli leader, “We are not bent on war, but we will do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves.”
Apparently, that includes dozens of heroic missions they may never be able to acknowledge took place.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, February 4, 2018)