A senior Egyptian military official who has refused to be named has accused Israel of attempting to provoke Egypt.
The official warned that Egypt would “cut off the hands” of any aggressor in the Sinai Peninsula, either domestic or foreign.
According to a report published late Sunday night by the Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm, the official added that Egyptian armed forces were dealing with the problems of terrorist activity in the region “wisely and quietly.”
His comments were made following calls by Israelis for a military operation in the peninsula after a young Israeli soldier was shot to death by three terrorists who attempted to infiltrate across the border from Sinai.
The soldier, 20-year-old Netanel Yahalomi, was offering water to African migrants who had arrived at the border and were trying to enter the country illegally. Although Yahalomi fell in the battle, he and his unit returned fire until backup from a second IDF patrol arrived and eliminated the attackers. A second soldier was seriously wounded as well.
There have been numerous attempts – and many successful efforts – to infiltrate the border between Israel and Egypt through the Sinai Peninsula. Hundreds of African migrants have entered Israel each month in that manner over the past several years.
Last month, IDF soldiers foiled an attempted infiltration by Arab terrorists along the border near the Kerem Shalom crossing.
The terrorists were members of a Muslim extremist organization that fired anti-tank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at two Egyptian army posts in the Sinai Peninsula. The attack, which took place at Rafiah, near the border with Gaza, left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead and numerous others wounded.