Egyptian military forces have captured over 100 Islamist terrorists in recent days – one third of them from Gaza. All were carrying phony Egyptian identity cards. They were arrested in northern Sinai, near Gaza, with some arrested south of Eilat.
The false identity cards were probably produced in Gaza, Egyptian officials said, using machinery that had been smuggled into Gaza through underground smuggling tunnels, with the tacit approval of Egyptian authorities. Now, the machinery is being used to manufacture ID cards for use in Sinai and Egypt.
The Islamists, many of whom belong to Al Qaeda and affiliated groups, and have been charged with rioting and fomenting violence during thr recent upheavals in Egypt. Several also are said to have participated in attacks on Egyptian security agents.
Last month, Egypt requested permission to send thousands of soldiers to Sinai, in order to battle Islamist groups that have ensconced themselves there after fleeing Egypt's major cities. According to the Camp David Accords, in which Israel surrendered Sinai, liberated in the Six Day War, to Egypt, only police and other peace officers are allowed in Sinai without the permission of Israel and the U.S., also a signatory of the agreement. That tenet of the Accords essentially demilitarized Sinai, although Egypt has several times in the past sent in army troops to deal with specific security situations.
Currently there are more Egyptian troops in Sinai than since the Yom Kippur War, and their mission is to clamp down on Islamists, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, who have fled Cairo and Alexandria since the deposing of former president Mohammed Morsi.