Egypt has a new chief of intelligence. President Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday appointed Maj.-Gen. Mohamed Ra'afat Shehata, the acting chief, to the post.
Shehata is stepping in following the dismissal of Mourad Mowafy, who was fired last month following an attack in which 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed in a clash on the border with Israel.
One report claimed the Al Takfir wal Hijira, a Salafi Islamist extremist organization, attacked two Egyptian army posts on the Egyptian side of the city of Rafiah, firing heavy artillery, anti-tank missiles and gunfire at the soldiers. The terrorists then stole two Egyptian armored personnel carriers (APCs) and infiltrated the border into Israel, where one was blown up at the security fence, and the other was stopped by the IDF. However, other reports place the responsibility for the attack on the Jund al Shari'a, another terrorist organization.
Mowafy was blamed for not providing Morsi with information about the attack, according to a report published Wednesday in the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
Shehata has reportedly kept a low profile and has not appeared in the media, nor made any statements to the press.
Earlier this week, three Egyptian security officers were wounded in another surprise attack by jihadists on Egyptian government headquarters in northern Sinai. According to a report published in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm a-Sabi, the attack came in response to an assault hours earlier by Egyptian soldiers on a terrorist base in Sheikh Zuweid, a village in the same region. Dozens of armored vehicles and attack helicopters were involved.
Israelis will soon be banned from approaching too close to the border with the Sinai Peninsula, in order to comply with a plan to convert a 300-meter area into a closed military buffer zone where the IDF and Egyptian army can operate more freely against the terrorists that have flourished in the increasingly lawless region.