Egypt Feels the Squeeze from Jihadis, U.S. and Hamas

(Times of Israel) Avi Issacharoff - Although the American administration recently agreed to provide the Egyptian Air Force with Apache attack helicopters, it has been making it increasingly difficult for Cairo to make additional military purchases. For example, the U.S. is delaying the shipment of tanks, spare parts and other weapons that the army desperately needs in its war against Islamic State. Egypt is currently facing the extremist group in Sinai, where Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has sworn allegiance to IS, and in Libya, where jihadists have established substantial military bases while sending terrorists into Egypt. In Sinai, the vast majority of attacks these days are being carried out near the Gaza border, raising strong suspicion that the Sinai terrorists are receiving significant assistance from Gaza. This is the source of Egyptian hostility toward Hamas. As a condition for thawing relations, Egypt has demanded that Hamas extradite Sinai terror suspects currently in Gaza - including Egyptian Shadi el-Menei, close the smuggling tunnels, and terminate the arming and training of terrorists. Egypt says it will not permanently open the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Sinai until PA leader Mahmoud Abbas places security forces there, without a Hamas presence.

2015-03-12 00:00:00

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