During the early morning hours on Monday, residents of Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta and other areas reported in panic that they were hearing explosions and planes flying at low latitude over heavily populated areas, reports Yoni Alper’s Terror Watch. It turned out to be a surprise exercise carried out by the Egyptian Air Force, to test the aerial defense system in various regions, in the wake of the alleged Israeli attack on the Yarmouk factory complex, which produced weapons for the Sudanese army and Iranian rebel guards, in the Khartoum area.
The alleged Israeli attack on the factory apparently caused damage to containers of advanced weapons systems to be smuggled to Iranian terror organizations in Gaza or other Iranian-backed groups. On their alleged bombing mission, the Israeli planes, using advanced electronic devices, succeeded in avoiding detection by the Egyptian radar system while flying over the Red Sea.
On Monday, the Egyptian army put out an announcement saying it was conducting a surprise exercise where, among other things, planes broke the sound barrier, to test the efficiency of the aerial defense forces in light of current developments and threats to the area.
Although the Egyptian army referred to it as an exercise, Egyptian sources on social media networks denied this and claimed that Israeli Air Force planes infiltrated Egyptian air space. They claimed that Israel deployed stealth F-35 fighter aircraft. They further claimed that conducting a large scale exercise during the holiday period (Feast of the Sacrifice) was unusual and that the army’s announcement sounded very strange.
The Egyptian army denied reports on the matter and referred to them as lies. An army spokesman further explained that according to an agreement with the United States, the IDF would not make use of the F-35 aircraft before 2016.
Incidentally, there already have been claims regarding Israel’s utilizing Egyptian air space for attacks on the Gaza strip during the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 and early 2009, under former President Hosni Mubarak.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 is a single-seat, single-engine, multi-role fighter that can perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with some stealth capability.