What Happened to Egypt's War against Sinai Jihadists?

(Ha'aretz) Avi Issacharoff - The Egyptian soldiers we encountered last week near the Kerem Shalom border crossing wore helmets and protective vests and held their Kalashnikov rifles at the ready. They bore no resemblance to the border police who were there at the time of the August 5 attack on a nearby Egyptian outpost. News reports say Egyptian President Morsi's emissaries reached an agreement with Islamist groups in Sinai. The jihadists promised to stop the attacks against Egypt, and both sides agreed to take action against foreign militants. Morsi, grasping the limits of his army's ability to act against the armed groups in central Sinai, apparently preferred to stop the fighting and arrive at understandings. Egyptian bulldozers continue to demolish tunnels running from Egyptian Rafah into Gaza, concentrating on "illegal tunnels" - those not under Hamas supervision on the Palestinian side. This has led immediately to an increase in the amount of goods entering the Strip from Israel via the Kerem Shalom terminal. Impressive commercial activity is taking place through the Kerem Shalom crossing. On the eve of the famous Gaza flotilla, 60-70 truckloads a day entered Gaza. At present, about 250 trucks a day bring in goods. The crossing is now capable of handling 450 trucks a day if the demand requires it, according to Kamil Abu Rukun, the Israeli Defense Ministry official who oversees the border crossing. The unhindered movement of goods into Gaza through both the Kerem Shalom crossing and the tunnels has made large-scale construction possible in Gaza - so much so that there is now a serious shortage of construction workers there. Young men are being sent to Turkey in organized groups to learn the trade.

2012-09-04 00:00:00

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