|Yet another violent episode on the Egyptian-Israeli borders was blamed on loose control over Egypt’s borders when militants and an Israeli worker were killed in an attack last Monday, June 18.The militants, who Israel claims crossed into Israel from Egypt's Sinai desert, fired on Israeli workers building a barrier on the border, killing one worker before soldiers shot dead two of the attackers.
Almost a year ago, last August, gunmen crossed over the Egyptian borders onto the Israel and killed eight Israelis near Eilat.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli Military told news agencies that the attack occurred when the men crossed from Egypt, about 30 kilometers from the Gaza Strip and reportedly set off explosives and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at two vehicles carrying civilian contractors working on the fence Israel is building to seal its border with Egypt. Military officials said they believed other militants involved in the attack had escaped back across the border into Egypt.
Egypt, however, has denied Israeli claims that attackers reached Eilat through Egyptian borders and assured it maintains full control over all movements on its borders.
Israel was in the process of building a fence along the border to control the arrival of African migrants and enhance security. Aiming to finish it by the end of this year, the fence will run along most of the 266 kilometers border from Eilat, on the Red Sea, to the Gaza Strip.
"We can see a disturbing deterioration in Egypt's control of the Sinai's security," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quoted saying.
Barak also added that Israel was waiting for the election results expecting the winner to take responsibility over all of Egypt’s international commitments, including the 1979 peace treaty with Israel and security arrangements in the Sinai.
Reports show Israel’s growing concerns over the political situation in Egypt. Wyre Davies the BBC Middle East correspondent says that the Egyptian and Israeli armies are said to maintain regular contacts and have a shared interest in avoiding an escalation of violence in the desert. “But, all the while, Israel is watching political developments in Egypt with concern,” he wrote on BBC news website.
It has also been reported on Monday that Israeli launched air strikes killed four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and that Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after a six-day closure for maintenance.
The repeated Israeli declarations, as well as the alarmingly increasing forces on the borders, raised concerns around escalating the situation on the Egyptian-Israeli border or even a possible Israeli interference on the Sinai desert.