Daily Israel Report

After Ouster, Sinai Could Become a Nest of Terror, Israel Fears

Israeli officials are concerned that the crisis in Egypt could lead to a total breakdown of order in Sinai
By David Lev
First Publish: 7/4/2013, 9:13 AM

Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula
Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula
AFP photo

With the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt once again on the run, or at least dethroned, Israeli officials are concerned that the more radical members of the group may decamp to Sinai to regroup – and assisting their allies in Hamas to carry out terror attacks in Israel.

Already under Hosni Mubarak, the Sinai had deteriorated into a redoubt of thieves, terrorists, drug smugglers, and others who seek to hide from the eyes of authority. The situation worsened under the regime of now-former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, and with the Egyptian army now trying to control the country's large cities, Israeli officials fear that whatever order there is in Sinai could completely break down.

Many analysts believe that the Brotherhood is not going to take Morsi's forced removal from office lying down, and there is the very real threat of civil war - with Brotherhood forces likely to take positions in Sinai, where they already have many allies among the Bedouin. Gaza could also supply a large number of fighters in case of need.

In retrospect, it appears that the Egyptian Army's deploying of a large number of tanks around the Gaza-Sinai border last weekend came in anticipation of the possibility that Hamas terrorists would try to get over the border and reinforce Morsi supporters, whether in protests in Cairo or on a future fighting front. But if order breaks down in Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities, those tanks will be needed to restore calm – in which case Brotherhood forces could get help from Gaza, while Gaza terror groups could draw on a new batch of manpower for their attacks on Israel.