In the aftermath of Friday’s attack on Israel’s border with Egypt, in which an Israeli soldier was killed, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz predicted that similar incidents will continue, despite the construction of a new border fence.
On Friday, terrorists opened fire from Egypt’s Sinai region, on Israeli soldiers providing water to a group of Africa migrants attempting to enter Israel. The ensuing gun battle resulted in the death of Cpl. Netanel Yahalomi at the hands of a jihadist group calling itself Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.
Surveying the scene of the incident yesterday, said, ‘The border with Sinai will continue to challenge us.’ Referring to the construction of a new border fence, which already covers approximately 200km of the 240km border, Gantz predicted, ‘An enormous effort has been made over the past two years to close off the border, and it will be closed off, but even once it’s closed, the threat will not stop.’
Egypt has recently mobilised armoured personnel carriers and attack helicopters in the Sinai to curb the deteriorating security threat. Israel agreed to the measures, despite the fact that they technically infringe the long standing Israel-Egypt peace treaty, under which the Sinai Peninsula should be demilitarised.
Although the Israeli government welcomes the Egyptian crackdown in Sinai, it is concerned about measures that could erode the standing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman said yesterday that ‘there is no chance Israel will agree to any kind of change’ in the 1979 peace agreement to accommodate a significant change in Egypt’s military presence in Sinai.