For the first time since 1973, Egyptian jets entered Israel – this time to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Sinai.
Egyptian Air Force fighters have crossed into Israeli air space in recent months and have used it to launch attacks against Islamic State (ISIS) terror targets in the Sinai Peninsula, as part of Egypt’s military campaign against Islamic insurgents, Israel’s Ynet reported Tuesday.
The unprecedented incursions, the first to occur since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, were apparently coordinated with the IDF and conducted mostly in the triangular border area between Israel, Egypt, and the Gaza Strip.
Entry into Israeli airspace did not result in any clashes with the Israeli Air Force (IAF), presumably because of prior coordination.
The Egyptian army has been conducting an extensive campaign in the northern Sinai against anti-regime Islamic terrorists who, together with Hamas, have carried out several deadly attacks against Egypt’s security forces and aspire to extend ISIS’ caliphate into the Sinai.
About four years ago, with the rise of Islamic terror forces in the Sinai, Israel activated a military clause in its peace accords with Egypt that allowed the entry of Egyptian tanks and fighter planes into the Sinai, to quell the insurgency.
ISIS in Sinai has recently released two clips in which they have threatened to attack Israel, and Israel is taking the threats seriously.
The IDF’s southern division has been preparing and training for an eventual ISIS attack on Israeli soil, and has recently conducted a week-long exercise which simulated an ISIS abduction of IDF soldiers on the border with Egypt.
Speaking in September, Col. Yehuda HaCohen, who commands the sector that includes the border with Egypt, said that ISIS has not directly attacked Israel yet only because it has chosen not to do so. They are focusing their efforts against Egypt, and do not want to invest their resources against Israel now “because they know they will pay a heavy price.”
However, in his assessment, ISIS will carry out a terror attack on Israel’s border in the near future. “It is clear to me that there will be a terror attack against Israel, and I believe it will occur during my watch,” he stated.
Hacohen is training his forces for this eventuality, and “when it happens, we should deal them a strong blow,” he declared.