CAIRO: The rocket attacks on Eilat in Israel and Aqaba in Jordan which some have claimed originated from Sinai indicate the lack of authority Egypt is permitted over its border under the peace treaty with Israel, a Bedouin activist said.
North Sinai Tagammu party member Khalil Jabr Sawarkeh told Daily News Egypt that Egypt had denied the rockets came from Sinai, but it only showed that the conditions of the peace treaty regulating the number of Egyptian troops at the border was detrimental to both Egypt and its neighbors.
“Israel has said the rockets came from Sinai but I wouldn’t believe what they say. However, Jordan has also said the bombs came from Sinai so there might be something in it, which is upsetting,” he said.
“However this goes to show that because we don’t have full authority on our own borders under the peace treaty, and not enough of a presence on it, we are at risk of something like this happening,” Sawarkeh added.
After both Jordan and Israel had claimed the rockets were fired from Sinai, Egyptian security forces conducted a sweep of the area Tuesday but claimed that there had been nothing suspicious detected.
An Egyptian official told AFP, “Following the Jordanian comments, Egypt has launched a wide security sweep of the Sinai peninsula,” adding that “there are no organized groups operating in Sinai and security on the peninsula is extremely tight. Any suspicious activity would have been detected.”
However, Sawarkeh said the sweep “wasn’t carried out with much precision, as it is a mountainous area and very difficult to scan properly without the aid of high tech equipment.”
The Monday attacks, which saw up to three rockets striking Aqaba in Jordan and outside Eilat in Israel, led to the death of one person in Jordan. Two other rockets landed in the Red Sea.
Sawarkeh criticized certain sections of the Egyptian media for “relating the rocket attacks to recent troubles regarding Sinai’s Bedouins. There is no truth to this and whoever thinks this way is wrong.”
Sinai has seen recently troubles between security forces and Bedouins, who have protested the severity of crackdowns and raids by the state. Recent tensions led to a shoot-out in Central Sinai that resulted in the injury of two people and Al-Oja crossing closed down.
Egypt has not officially made a statement on Monday’s attacks but a security official told AFP, “The rockets did not come from Sinai,” as it would require “a great deal of logistics and equipment, and that is impossible considering the heavy security presence in the Sinai Peninsula.”