web analytics
September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Sinai Peninsula’

Israel, Egypt Fight US Plan to Trim Troops in Sinai Multinational Force

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Israel and Egypt have united to protest a decision by the United States to reduce its contingent in the Sinai Peninsula multinational force by a third. It’s unclear whether opposition by the two allies will move anyone in the White House, however.

Washington officials are worrying about what they feel is the increasing likelihood that American service members could be targeted by Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists while participating in the MFO. The concerns come in the wake of recent losses elsewhere in the Middle East, and two recent incidents of Da’esh cyber attacks on American soil, including one targeting military personnel.

The role of the force is to monitor enforcement of the security agreement in the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, and to ensure no heavy weaponry enters the Sinai Peninsula in violation of the agreement. The origins of the MFO (ed. – multinational force) lie in Annex I to the 1979 Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel, in which the parties undertook to request the United Nations to provide a force and observers to supervise the implementation of the Treaty. When it did not prove possible to obtain Security Council approval for the stationing of a UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai, the parties negotiated a Protocol in 1981 establishing the MFO “as an alternative” to the envisioned UN force.

The directly interested parties in the multinational force — that is, Israel and Egypt — fund most of the costs of its operation. Australia and the United States provide funding for Force Protection purposes.

Since the election of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt and Israel have worked together to battle the massive presence of terrorist bases in Sinai that grew during the one-year reign of Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi. The multinational force has rarely been targeted by these groups, who are working to overthrow the el-Sisi government rather than waste their resources elsewhere.

But Washington has lost two American soldiers in the battle with Da’esh since March alone, including a SEAL who was shot and killed in northern Iraq near Mosul this week.

With the Democratic party facing an uphill battle to retain the White House in the upcoming presidential elections this November, President Barack Obama appears to be taking few chances on angering the American public with unpopular military losses.

At present some 700 American soldiers from special combat and logistical units serve in the northern Sinai, comprising a little less than half of the total multinational force.

The U.S. is pressuring Egypt and Israel to agree to the one-third reduction of its force, at the minimum; a move that would be seen in Egypt as a statement of no-confidence in the el-Sisi regime.

After discussions with Israel, Egypt has expressed willingness to move some of the peacekeeper forces to the center and southern sections of the region. Technical monitoring equipment would be used to replace the missing forces in the northern Sinai. It’s not clear how effective such a strategy would be, however.

Then again, it’s also not clear how effective the presence of the MFO has actually been as a deterrent against terrorist activity either. It is more likely that Israeli-Egyptian opposition to the move is aimed at the damaging political statement it makes in Egyptian society, and the not-so-subtle encouraging message it sends to radical Islamist terrorist in the Sinai Peninsula.

But then, Washington doesn’t use words like “radical Islamist terrorists” … so they don’t really exist, do they?

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Confirms Hamas ‘Partnering’ With ISIS in Sinai

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

IDF officials warned this week that between 600 to 1,000 Da’esh (ISIS) operatives in the Sinai Peninsula are now “partnering” with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

In a graphic posted to the military service English-language blog online, the IDF confirmed Hamas support for Da’esh is wide-ranging.

Hamas transfers money for the terrorist organization, trains and teaches its fighters, assists with communications and also provides medical care when necessary.

Those services are provided via the cross-border smuggler tunnels that snake below the surface under the Gaza-Egyptian border.

Hamas was created by the outlawed Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization, which is bent on overthrowing the Cairo regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Former Muslim Brotherhood-backed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted after only a year in power; more than one million Egyptians rose up to protest against his rule, which followed the chaos of the Arab Spring.

Hana Levi Julian

Egypt Questions Hamas Over Missing Israelis in Gaza

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Egypt asked a Hamas delegation in Cairo last week about two IDF soldiers whose bodies are still being held captive in Gaza, and two Israeli nationals who missing in the region.

The Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group has said Israel must “pay” if it wants any information about any of the four.

The group has also tried to imply that the two soldiers may still be alive, a particularly nasty form of psychological warfare often practiced by terror groups against Israeli families.

But Hamas itself has been in the cross-hairs of the Egyptian government for some time now, since the terror group is the spawn of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian authorities have not been pleased with efforts by Hamas to tunnel deep into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, nor by its assistance to Da’esh (ISIS) and other terror groups in its territory.

Egypt has flooded those tunnels with Mediterranean seawater, and sealed them to prevent further infiltrations into its territory.

Hamas is now trying to repair its broken ties with Cairo, Arab media reported Sunday.

An Egyptian daily quoted Egyptian sources close to the situation who said the Hamas delegation was asked about the four Israelis being held in Gaza.

Both of the IDF soldiers died in the line of duty during Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014. Both are officers: one is Oron Shaul, the other is Hadar Goldin. Hamas stole their bodies and is holding the remains, although the group has attempted to imply the soldiers are alive.

On Friday evening, Hamas spokesperson Abu Obaida said in a statement on the military wing’s website: “There are no contacts or negotiations on the four soldiers, and the Israeli enemy will not get information about their fate but to pay the prices before and after the negotiations.” He added that Netanyahu “lies to his people and deceives the families of the Israeli captive soldiers.”

Hamas wants Israel to free more bloodthirsty terrorist prisoners with blood on their hands.

But according to the report, Egyptian authorities questioned the Hamas delegation this past week when they came to Cairo. The Hamas representatives were seeking a way to heal the breach with Egypt after violating the country’s borders and helping Sinai terrorists murder Egyptian security forces.

One of the live Israeli hostages is a young Israeli Bedouin from the southern Israeli town of Hura, located in the northern Negev. He allegedly entered Gaza through the Erez Crossing in April although it is not clear how. At the family’s request his name has not been released. It is known, however, that he has mild mental health issues and has entered Gaza, Jordan and Egypt at least once before. Each time, he was returned by the authorities.

Avraham Mengisto, 29, is being held after he climbed over the security fence to cross the Gaza border and simply walked into the region. Mengisto, an Ethiopian immigrant to Israel, suffers from mental illness and was not accepted for service in the IDF.

His brother Gashao told European officials in Geneva in February, “When Hamas is asking for humanitarian assistance, and contributions to the people in Gaza, then the international community should tell them: Don’t expect us to assist you when you are violating the same rights of the other side.”

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Bedouin Freed From Egyptian Prison

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Israeli Bedouin Ouda Tarabin has been freed from an Egyptian prison after 15 years’ incarceration on suspicion of spying for the Jewish State.

He returned to Israel early Thursday morning, just as two Egyptian prisoners completed their prison terms in Israel and were released to return to Egypt.

Tarabin was arrested by Egyptian authorities while crossing the border to visit his family in the Sinai Peninsula. He was tried and sentenced in absentia in 2000 on charges of aiding others in gathering intelligence.

Hana Levi Julian

UK Resumes Flights From Sharm el-Sheikh But Adds Security at Airport

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Britain has decided to allow flights to resume from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh as the probe into Saturday’s crash of a Russian MetroJet continues.

At present there are 20,000 UK citizens stranded in the area, most of them tourists.

The UK prime minister’s office had suspended flights after the Russian airliner apparently exploded above the Sinai Peninsula while en route to St. Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh.

According to the latest intelligence, Da’esh (ISIS) may indeed have succeeded in planting a barometric pressure bomb aboard the aircraft prior to its departure from the airport.

“Following further discussions with the airlines and the Egyptians, we have agreed on a package of additional security measures that is being put in place rapidly,” Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said in a statement. “Consequently the government has decided, in consultation with the airlines that flights from Sharm to the UK will resume tomorrow.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met with Cameron at his office in London on Thursday.

Cameron told journalists that “more likely than not” it was a terrorist bomb that brought down the aircraft – a view shared by UK and U.S. intelligence personnel, as well as other intelligence operatives in the Middle East.

“I think there is a possibility that there was a bomb on board,” agreed President Barack Obama in a radio interview late Thursday, “and we’re taking that very seriously.”

The UK has sent extra security personnel to the airport in Sharm el-Sheikh to carry out special measures.

Checked bags are being sent back to the UK separately, passengers are being body-searched and carry-on luggage only is being allowed on all return flights. Investigators are checking for explosive residue, as are the bodies of the victims of the doomed flight.

Hana Levi Julian

Bomb May Have Blown Up Russian Airbus Flight over Sinai

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Egyptian officials suspect that terrorists planted a bomb onboard the Russian Airbus A321 that crashed on Saturday over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 crew and passengers.

All authorities have rejected Islamic State (ISIS) claims that it shot down the plane, but the fact that it is rare for an airplane to disintegrate shortly after taking off from before takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh airport makes the bomb theory more probable.

Russian aviation official Viktor Sorochenko, who inspected the crash site, told Russian media that that the flight “broke up in the air,” which explains why debris was found over 12 square miles.

Bloomberg News reported that said Steve Wallace, former chief of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s crash investigation division, said that it’s very rare with a modern airplane.

However, in 2001, the rear of the 18-year-old aircraft scraped along the tarmac and sustained extensive damage, although the plane was repaired.

The wife of co-pilot of the St, Petersburg-bound plane told Russian television that her husband had complained about the condition of the plane.

Authorities have recovered the black box from the ill-fated plane, but it will take several days before they conclude their investigation.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Sunday evening that he no one can say whether a technical failure or terrorists caused the crash until an “extensive and complicated technical study” is completed.

Former Israeli national security adviser and IDF Intelligence Chief Yaakov Amidror said “other scenarios also have to be considered, especially the possibility that the plane was sabotaged at the airport before taking off.”

Yves Trotignon, a former French intelligence agent, told Le Parisien:

The [Russian’ statement [that the plane fell apart in mid-air] does not say they shot it {ISIS] down, but that they destroyed it. You could imagine explosives on board, or sabotage.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US Raises Protection for Its Sinai Multinational Peacekeeper Forces

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

The U.S. is sending more troops and equipment to beef up support for U.S. peacekeepers in the northern Sinai Peninsula, defense officials said Wednesday.

The move comes after four U.S. soldiers and two Fiji soldiers were wounded when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb during a routine patrol near the town of el-Gorah, close to their base.

Attacks on Egyptian government security forces and multinational peacekeepers increased after the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terror organization pledged itself to Da’esh (ISIS) a number of months ago. Upon its absorption into the larger, international terror organization, the group — which supports the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in its desire to overthrow the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — was renamed “Sinai Province.”

At least 75 additional U.S. troops, including a light infantry platoon and a surgical team are expected to arrive in the area, according to the Associated Press.

Surveillance equipment and other assets will accompany the new troops joining the Multinational Force and Observers, defense officials said on condition of anonymity.

There are approximately720 U.S. soldiers participating in the force, which monitors compliance with the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-raises-protection-for-its-sinai-multinational-peacekeeper-forces/2015/09/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: