Egypt army disptaches team to Sinai following Eilat attack

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Apr 2013

While asserting that Sinai will never be 'source of threats to neighboring states,' Egyptian army sends team to restive peninsula following rocket attack on Israel's Eilat

Egypt
Egypt's military spokesman Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Ali, (Photo: Official Facebook page).

"Egyptian lands are not and will not become a source of threats to neighbouring states," an Egyptian military spokesman asserted on Wednesday, following a rocket attack on the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat earlier the same day.

The Israeli army claims that two rockets were fired from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, neither of which, it says, caused any casualties.

Egyptian military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali said via Facebook that the Egyptian Army had dispatched technical teams to Sinai to investigate claims that the rockets had been launched from the peninsula.

A Salafist group, the 'Lions of the Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem,' allegedly claimed Wednesday's attack, AFP reported.

For his side, Major General Alaa Ezzedine, head of Egypt's Strategic Centre of the Armed Forces, denied that rockets had been fired from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula into the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat. 

Ezzedine said that Israel was responsible for determining the location from which the rockets were fired, arguing that such an incident proved the "failure" of Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, recently deployed around Eilat, which did not intercept the rockets.

He told Ahram Online that the Egyptian armed forces were currently working on a strict plan aimed at stopping "law breakers" located Sinai. 

"The plan includes intensifying the movements of military patrols in sites which jihadists have taken advantage of in the past, along with providing more weapons for the existing ambushes," Ezzedine said.

"Egypt owns the capabilities required for knowing who fired the rockets and from which point; based on our radar systems, we confirm that no rockets were launched from inside Egyptian territory."

Ezzedine referred to the "well-established" relationship that the armed forces enjoys with the heads of local tribes, who are currently keen on assisting the military by "drying up the sources" of jihadist operations in Sinai through the demolition of tunnels into the neighbouring Gaza Strip.

Moreover, Ezzedine denied any linkages between the Eilat attacks and the recent explosions in the US city of Boston.

Sinai has suffered increased lawlessness following the collapse of state control during and after Egypt's 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

In 2011, a series of cross-border attacks between armed assailants and Israeli soldiers led to the death of eight Israelis and a number of attackers.

During one such cross-border attack in 2011, Israeli forces killed five Egyptian soldiers, triggering angry demonstrations in Cairo outside the Israeli embassy.

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