Israeli, US, Egyptian and Jordanian counterterrorism agencies are on elevated alert since Oct. 25, debkafile reports: Salafi and al Qaeda cells in Egyptian Sinai are said poised to unleash coordinated terrorist attacks on US and Egyptian targets in Sinai and in Israel to avenge Israel’s targeted killing of two senior commanders of the Salafi-al Qaeda Sinai-Gaza network. Perpetrators of the Benghazi murders of 4 US diplomats are among the jihadi reinforcements coming in from Libya.
The latest warning is more comprehensive than ever before. Last Wednesday, Oct. 25, debkafile reported Israeli, Egyptian and US Middle East counter-terror forces were on high alert for coordinated attacks in Sinai on or around the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.
They acted on word received in the last ten days of preparations by Salafi and al Qaeda cells in Egyptian Sinai to unleash coordinated terrorist attacks on US and Egyptian targets in Sinai and across the border in Israel. The jihadis are bent on revenge for Israel’s targeted killing on Oct. 13 of Hisham Saidni and Abdullah al-Ashqar, two senior commanders of their Sinai-Gaza network, the Majlis Shura Al-Mujahideen
Israel’s IDF Sagi-512 Brigade and Shin Bet units are on guard around the Gaza Strip and Egyptian border; Egypt’s military, Interior Ministry and security forces are on high alert in Sinai; and the Multinational Force of mostly US units are on the ready at both its Sinai bases – Al-Gora near El Arish in the north and Sharm el-Sheikh in the south.
The US special forces unit posted last month on Jordan’s Syrian border was hurriedly transferred to the Red Sea port of Aqaba with a fleet of helicopters, in case the MFO comes under attack.
The Majlis Shura Al-Mujahideen is a roof organization of some 6,000 Egyptian, local Bedouin, Palestinian, Jordanian, Saudi, Yemeni and Libyan terrorists who subscribe to Al Qaeda’s jihadist philosophy. From their strongholds in central and southern Sinai, they have carried out most of the most recent spate of attacks on Israel and on Egyptian military targets in the peninsula.
After their combined assault of July 18 on Egyptian and Israeli military targets, in the course of which they massacred 18 Egyptian troops, Cairo announced the launch of a major offensive to root the terrorists out of their Sinai lairs. But four months on, the jihadis remain in control of large tracts of the rugged Sinai desert. And last week, they received a large increment from Libya. The Libyan reinforcements were discovered on their arrival in Sinai Oct. 15 with a large quantity of weapons including missiles, ready for the forthcoming Eid offensive.
Among them were some of the perpetrators of the murderous attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11which killed four Americans at the US consulate.
On the day they arrived, Al Qaeda’s Shumoukh Al-Islam website ran a eulogy for Hisham Saidni with a warning: “The blood of the Muslim heroes is not cheap, nor is it shed in vain. The Jews will pay dearly for every drop they spill and Israel should expect a devastating response.”
At the beginning of the week, intelligence watchers picked up the sudden disappearance of thousands of jihadis from their Sinai posts as though the earth had swallowed them up. It is suspected they have regrouped in locations closer to their targets ready to move.
This incoming intelligence prompted the US Statement Department’s travel advisory of Tuesday, Oct. 23, for US citizens visiting Sinai and Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz’s warning that coordinated terrorist attacks may be in store from Sinai and its northern borders with Lebanon and Syria.