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Rockets from Egypt Slam into Israel, Reignite Calls for Egypt to Assert Control Over Sinai Peninsula

Rockets fired from the Sinai Peninsula slammed into Israel today and were claimed by a jihadi Salafist group operating in the territory. Hard-line Islamist groups have increasingly infiltrated the Sinai Peninsula since the 2011 overthrow of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Most of the rockets were fired from Sinai, which has become increasingly lawless since the revolution which toppled former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Islamic militant groups have grown in strength there and have used it as a base from which to target Israel across the lengthy shared border.

Jihadists have committed a series of terror attacks in the region, including a particularly bloody August 2012 attack that saw 16 Egyptian security officers killed and two vehicles stolen, which were then used to try to penetrate Israel.

Efforts to reassert government and military control have been complicated by domestic Egyptian politics, and Egyptian officials have sometimes downplayed the extent of jihadist activity (just a day before the August attack, Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram had published an article in which the governor of south Sinai, Maj. Gen. Khalid Fouda, dismissed Israeli warnings of pending attacks as rumors and insisted that there were no terrorists cells in the Sinai). The military subsequently attributed the attack to Hamas.

Egypt’s army is finding itself frequently at odds with current Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who receives support from Hamas, which has in recent years transported weapons through the Sinai into Gaza for use against both Israel and Egyptian security officials.

[Photo: Deror_avi / Wiki Commons]