Mideast: Netanyahu renews alarm, Far West in Sinai

Terrorist traffic with help from Iran, Egyptian concerns

24 April, 18:06

(ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV, APRIL 24 - Israel is viewing the situation in Sinai with increasing alarm against a background of the turbulence in post-Mubarak Egypt. The Israeli government believes that over recent months, the peninsula on Egyptian territory and its borders have been turning into an open and lawless area, roamed by the left-overs of terrorist organisations of every hue. Speaking in an interview on military radio today, Isreal's Premier Benyamin Netanyahu stressed how the military junta in power in Cairo has been in contact with Israel about the issue and is committed to defusing the time bomb.

''Sinai is turning into a kind of Wild West,'' Mr Netanyahu claimed, saying that within the area ''terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda are roaming about, and with help from Iran are using the place for arms trafficking, transport and planning attacks on Israel''.

Tensions have risen along this border over recent months, with shootings and attempted raids, which have led, as was the case in 2011, to the killing of eight Israelis north of Eilat.

According to Mr Netanyahu, Israel, which has authorized the deployment of Egyptian battalions into the area in violation of peace accords between the two countries, ''is acting'' to tackle the threat by strengthening its frontiers. But also by ''keeping permanent contacts with the current authorities'' in Egypt, who are also ''concerned'' about what is afoot in Sinai.

This point appears to come as a nod towards Cairo, which just yesterday called for clarification of an opinion attributed by a newspaper to the country's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, according to whom the new Egypt risks turning into a ''worse danger than Iran'' for Israel. (ANSAmed).