Israelis on Sinai Border Face Islamist Threat

A once quiet border is now threatened by instability and violence from the rise of Salafist groups from Egypt.

al-monitor An Israeli soldier gives medical treatment to a young Sudanese migrant suffering from dehydration outside the Sagi Mount military base near the Israeli-Egypt border, Sept. 21, 2012. Three armed militants slipped into Israel from Egypt's Sinai peninsula, killing an Israeli soldier and wounding another before being shot dead, the army said. Photo by REUTERS/Amir Cohen.

Topics covered

sinai, israel, islamists, islamist, egypt

Jul 23, 2013

KADESH BARNEA, Israel — The ripening cherry tomatoes in Anan Seaon's greenhouse in Kadesh Barnea, southern Israel, are growing just a stone’s throw away from the border with Egypt. For years, the border was quiet in this part of the country, which enjoys yearlong sunshine and rich and fertile soil — ideal for its core industries of farming and tourism. “We sometimes wave to the Egyptian soldiers from here,” says Yael Katsir, a neighbor from the nearby kibbutz Kmehin. But following the uprisings in Egypt in 2011, Anan and other residents have had to set up a security team to deal with the new threats from the neighboring Sinai Peninsula. Since the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi on July 3, the locals are once again on high alert. The lawless North Sinai region has increasingly become a base for hard-line Islamists who in the last two years have stepped up their attacks, exploiting a vacuum following the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Since the toppling of Morsi, militants have targeted checkpoints and other security installations on an almost daily basis. The growing instability in Sinai began spilling over into southern Israel more than two years ago, but today, the terror incidents are growing in frequency and sophistication.

Inna Lazareva is a British journalist and political analyst specializing in the Middle East and based in Tel Aviv. You can read more of her writing at www.innalazareva.com.

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