The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly denounced a statement released by Israel’s deputy defense minister Danny Danon on Thursday, in which he said that his country “expects Egypt to pay attention to the security situation on its territory,” and that “Israel will find and punish anyone who’s planning to carry out attacks against it, even if they were in the territory of another country,” reported the privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The ministry’s spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty issued a statement stressing that Egypt rejected these threats in form and substance, and that “Egypt will not fail to maintain its national sovereignty and national security.”
Attacks targeting police stations, military checkpoints and other government establishments have become common events, intensifying after the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi.
Recent attacks targeting Israeli interests include the bombing of the gas pipeline in Sinai on January 17, which interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi described as “an act of terror” that would not “stop Egypt and its people from moving forward with the roadmap.”
Days later, on January 23 the Ansar Beit al-Maqdes group claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on the Israeli resort town of Eilat. The group issued a statement accusing the Egyptian government of “protecting the safety of Israel.”
Many attribute increased militancy in the peninsula to the persistent economic and political marginalization of its inhabitants.
Meanwhile, the military has been waging several security operations against militants and tunnels in Sinai, aiming at creating “a buffer zone securing 500 meters to 1 km along the borders,” according to a press conference held by the Armed Forces spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Ali in mid-September 2013.