Egypt Ups Sinai Forces to Counter Jihadist Threat to Israeli Aircraft

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

The Egyptian Third Army has deployed a battalion of soldiers near the Israeli border at Taba to prevent rocket and missile attacks on Israeli civilian aircraft, The Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.

The recent move adds to an estimated several hundred soldiers to an already bolstered Egyptian military presence in Sinai. The troop movements have all been coordinated with Israel, in accordance with provisions of the peace treaty.

Egypt is concerned that jihadist units in the Sinai Peninsula linked to al-Qaida may attempt to shoot down an Israeli civilian aircraft flying near the border during its approach for landing in Eilat.

In January, members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, an Egyptian Islamist terrorist group, downed an Egyptian military helicopter, killing the five officers aboard. Investigation of the incident found that the jihadist group used SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles smuggled from Libya.

January’s incident was not the first in which jihadist groups used missiles of this kind. During the attack on an Israeli bus near Eilat in August 2011, an IAF helicopter pilot reported that an RPG was fired at his aircraft. An Israeli investigation found that an SA-7 was used in that attack as well.