MILITANTS ATTACKED PEACEKEEPING MISSION IN SINAI
Forty days after a group of armed Salafist Beduins and rogue Palestinian Jaljalat organizations in Gaza Strip Strip attacked and killed 17 Egyptian troops near the border triangle between Israel, Gaza Strip and Egypt (Kerem Shalom Raid) and just 6 days after an Egyptian Army spokesman, on Saturday 09/08/2012, announced that it has killed 32 gunmen, arrested 58 suspects and destroyed 31 smuggling tunnels as part of its campaign, dubbed Operation Sinai, to rid Sinai of terrorism. Bedouins in Sinai, on Friday 09/14/2012 at about 15:30, ridiculed the Egyptian alleged operation, challenged Egyptian sovereignty over Sinai and launched a massive attack on the Multinational Force base -MFO headquarters in Al-Jora a former Israeli airbase in Northern Sinai named ‘Eytam’, about 30 km East of El-Arish. MFO is mandated as part of 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty (see also – Al-Jora 03.16.12).
Militants opened fire on an international observer base near Al-Jora and burned tires blocking a road to the camp, a witness and a security source reported Friday evening. Dozens of armed militants break down the wall of the Multinational Force & Observers base, using jeeps and commercial vehicles, and set vehicles and tools alight. The MFO force inside the camp, the majority of whom are Colombian, fired back at the militants and an exchange of fire ensued. according to the latest reports. The Egyptian army has moved troops to the area to repel any attempt to take control of the base.
It is unclear whether attack linked to worldwide protests over anti-Islam film ‘Innocence Of Muslims’ or was a premeditated attack related to The 9/11 eleventh anniversary. One Egyptian security official denied the claim that the attack was related to the film.
Several members of the force were reportedly wounded. Officials from the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Cairo were unreachable Friday night to confirm the report.
Israeli media reported that two of the wounded, Colombian officers, were being evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba for treatment. The IDF would not comment on reports that IDF helicopters were helping evacuate the wounded. So far there have been no reports of wounded among the militants.
Egypt’s Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the gunmen attacked the base, setting fire to one of its guard towers and raised a black flag bearing Islamic inscriptions.