Mubarak sends son-and-heir Gemal to assess Philadelphi situation
As the ceasefire talks with Hamas in Cairo deadlocked, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak decided to send his son Gemal (Jimmy) to see for himself the true situation on the strategic Philadelphi Corridor running along the Gazan-Sinai border, debkafile‘s intelligence sources reveal.
The president was not satisfied with the reporting he received from the Egyptian army and intelligence – or from Israel – on the state of play over Hamas’ vital arms smuggling route. Accompanied by a large party of security guards and Egyptian generals, Gemal Mubarak carried out his mission Tuesday, Jan. 14. It was the first of its kind by a senior Egyptian – or Israeli – figure to a major battle arena since Israel launched its offensive against Hamas Dec. 27.
Mubarak put off Wednesday’s visit to Cairo by the Israeli defense ministry’s Amos Gilead until he heard his son’s briefing.
Our military sources explain the lack of progress in the Egyptian-Hamas ceasefire talks in the last 48 hours by the easing of Israeli military pressure in Gaza. Notwithstanding the official accounts of intense activity, Israeli forces have in fact confined operations to aerial bombardment and the occasional exchange of fire on the ground. They are essentially holding back and waiting for cabinet orders to go for the decisive push into the densely-populated areas of Gaza City and the Philadelphi Corridor.
Israeli commanders in the battle arena find a direct ratio between the slowdown in Israel’s military momentum in Gaza and the intransigence of Hamas ceasefire negotiators in Cairo.
One commander commented: “Suddenly, everyone has all the time in the world. Mubarak is in no hurry to pin Hamas down and Jerusalem can’t make up its mind on the next stage of the war. Surely they understand that their hesitancy is encouraging Hamas to dig its heels in harder.”