Shots Fired Into Israel From Egypt, as Sinai Peninsula Chaos Deepens

Growing concerns that violence from the increasingly anarchic Sinai Peninsula will spill over into Israel spiked over the weekend, as shots were fired on Israeli soldiers Sunday night. Israeli military officials responded to the incident by ramping up security in southern Israel.

Jihadists have engaged in a string of attacks on Egyptian security personnel in the Sinai since the July 3rd removal of Egyptian then-president Mohammed Morsi, with at least 10 Egyptian policemen killed in attacks on security checkpoints, police stations, and government buildings. Commenting on an incident last Wednesday, the army detects a campaign:

The car of the second field army chief “came under heavy fire, which led to clashes between security forces and the terrorist elements,” the spokesman said in a statement… This is the latest in a string of attacks in Sinai “targeting the army and the police in recent days with the aim of sowing chaos and harming the stability and national security of Egypt,” the army said.

The Egyptian military blames Hamas for much of the unrest, accusing the Palestinian terror group of facilitating the movement of materials and personnel between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Egypt. If reports are correct, they may have more than a little reason for suspicion. Last week the army reportedly killed dozens of Hamas fighters who had infiltrated the Peninsula to engage attacks on security forces. A Palestinian man was detained last week as he attempted to return to Gaza in connection with a bomb blast that targeted the a pipeline that supplied natural gas to Jordan.

Egyptian intelligence have reportedly taken to watching the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip very carefully:

The Palestinian news agency Maan reported that according to a senior military source, the Egyptian intelligence is monitoring Hamas inside the Gaza Strip… the surveillance requires the Egyptian military “to penetrate the Gaza airspace with drones, and photograph Hamas activists in case they are performing hostile activities.”

Meanwhile, the Egyptian army said it was set to launch a large-scale military operation in the Sinai “to clean it up from terrorist and criminal cells.”

[Photo: STRATFORvideo / Youtube]