Israel goes on the alert on her Sinai border

Friday, July 03, 2015 |  Israel Today staff

The Islamic State (ISIS) organization launched an offensive against Egyptian security forces on Wednesday killing dozens. The fighting which is now in the third day is the largest battles that have taken place in the Sinai peninsula since the 1973 Yom Kippur war. The IS caught the Egyptian forces in north-western Sinai off guard with their surprise attack carrying out a well coordinated simultaneous attack on 15 posts and centers of the Egyptian security forces in northern Sinai.

In addition the, IS used sophisticated and modern weapons in their attacks. It was previously unknown that the IS fighters had the types of weapons at their disposal. Egypt quickly received clearance from Israel to move additional weapons, including tanks armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, into the Sinai.

The battles taking place between the Egyptian army and the ISIS fighters could also develop into rocket and mortar fire towards Israel, and the Central Command is preparing for that too. In the meantime, it seems that the IS fighters are busy battling the Egyptian army, which is attacking them from the air and from the ground, but the heightened state of alert on the Israeli side will likely continue for a few more days, as experience shows that ISIS will try to create provocations on the border with Israel in a bid to cause a friction between the IDF and the Egyptian army and affect the relationship between Egypt and Israel.

By Thursday night, Egypt had reported that they had killed 123 IS fighters in their retaliation.

In the initial attacks, the IS gained control of tanks and armored vehicles which quickly had Israel raising the level of readiness on the Sinai border fearing that these vehicles could be used in attacks on Israel herself. Highway 12, which runs mostly along the Egyptian border, has been closed to civilian traffic until further notice. The IDF quickly shut off all Sinai crossings and alerted all the communities along the border with Egypt, especially in its northwestern part to stay alert. The IDF has also reinforced the presence of armored vehicles on the ground and unmanned aircraft monitoring events near the border. The IDF has increased helicopter and fighter jet patrols along the border.

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