The blossoms of the “Arab Spring” uprising in Egypt last year have wilted under a reign of terror in the Sinai, where Al Qaeda and other jihadi cells have carried out 50 terrorist attacks on police since the beginning of the January 25 uprising.
Israel has frequently posted warnings to tourists not to visit the popular Sinai Peninsula and Red Sea resorts, but thousands of Israelis, most of them backpackers, still ignore the threats.
Security sources in Egypt told the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper that Rafiah, which straddles the border at Gaza and Egypt, and central Sinai are under out of control of Egyptian police and soldiers.
Bedouin, allied with Gaza Arabs, have carried on a reign of terror and carved out their own fiefdoms in the region, a source of smuggling of weapons and terrorists into Israel.
Besides Al Qaeda-linked groups, security soruces named Hamas and the Army of Islam, which was involved in attack on an IDF checkpoint and the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit nearly six years ago.
The terrorist groups have carried out 16 attacks on checkpoints and 37 attacks on police stations. Frequent armed robberies have been carried out on mail delivery trucks, and at least three men have been killed in the attacks.
The lawlessness has been highlighted but there have also been 14 attacks on the Egyptian-Israeli natural gas pipeline, and numerous carjackings in the area of el-Arish.