TEL AVIV – Israel and Egypt are studying the possibility the Palestinian terrorist who carried out yesterday’s suicide bombing here was aided in entering the Jewish state by Egyptian security forces, WND has learned.
During yesterday’s attack, three people were killed when a bomber blew himself up in a bakery in the southern resort city of Eilat. Israeli authorities say the suicide bomber, who originated in the Gaza Strip, entered Israel from Egypt, which runs alongside long sections of Israel and also borders Gaza.
According to Egyptian security sources speaking to WND, Egyptian authorities this month discovered 17 cases of Egyptian guards aiding infiltrators into Israel. They say in most cases the guards were paid off and were either not aware of the infiltrators intentions for entering Israel or were told the intentions were for employment or studies.
“In many cases, we’re talking about Palestinians and others who want to travel abroad for work or study and who can’t do it legally. Egypt is working hard to coordinate security with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to ensure this infiltration stops,” said an Egyptian security source.
A Palestinian security official said Egypt found “many, many more cases this month [of guards aiding infiltration into Israel] than the 17 they admit to.”
The Egyptian sources said only in “small numbers” of cases the past year did they discover Egyptian forces who knowingly collaborated with Palestinian terror groups or who sought to endanger the security of Egypt or Israel.
But Israeli security sources say it is “impossible” for the vast quantity of weapons that regularly flows into Gaza from the Egyptian Sinai desert to reach the territory without at least the tacit knowledge of Egyptian forces in the Sinai.
“We’re talking about extremely sophisticated smuggling rings that bring large quantities of weapons from Egypt into Gaza, in some previous cases even in convoy trucks. Don’t tell me Egyptian forces don’t know,” said an Israeli security official.
Israel’s Interior Security Minister Avi Dichter today said Egypt must do more to act against weapons smuggling and ensure against infiltration from its country into Israel.
“There is no doubt that the Egyptians aren’t doing enough. Sinai is Egyptian territory, and the responsibility for ensuring that events like [yesterday’s suicide bombing] don’t happen is also theirs, no less than ours,” said Dichter.
“It is their work and their obligation that their border remains closed,” Dichter continued.
A leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group in the northern Gaza Strip told WND yesterday Egyptian forces actively aid in weapons smuggling efforts and in other anti-Israel activities.
“Thank Allah for the Egyptian help,” said the Brigades leader, who spoke on condition his name be withheld.
“Egypt is the key to paradise in Gaza,” the leader said.
In an interview in August with WND, Abu Muhammad, chief of the Army of Islam, said material or people can be brought from Gaza to Sinai with little trouble. The Army of Islam is one of three groups that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in June of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
“It is not an impossible mission to smuggle anything or anyone from Gaza to Sinai,” Abu Muhammad said.
Meanwhile, following yesterday’s attack, the issue of securing Israel’s border with Egypt has moved to center stage here.
Last year, the Israeli army presented the government with a plan to build a barrier along the vast border with Egypt, but the high cost of the effort, estimated at about $700 million, prevented any progress.
The IDF wants to increase its presence along the Egyptian-Israeli border and several times petitioned the government to allow the army to reoccupy the Philadelphi route, the main border area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, where most weapons smuggling takes place.
IDF leaders today complained to the government that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza left them with insufficient intelligence inside Gaza and along the Egyptian border, defense officials said.
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