Egypt admits it ignored Israeli warnings of attack

Egypt admits it ignored Israeli warnings of attack

Intelligence chief says no action taken because they didn’t believe a Muslim would kill another Muslim during break fast

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

An Egyptian watchtower along the border on August 6, 2012. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90)
An Egyptian watchtower along the border on August 6, 2012. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90)

Egypt’s intelligence head admitted Tuesday that he received prior warnings of Sunday’s deadly attack on a border police station in Sinai, but did not believe such an event could take place during Ramadan.

Murad Muwafi said Israeli warnings of the deadly border attack were ignored because authorities couldn’t fathom that Muslims would kill each other during the Ramadan fast, the Turkish Anadolu news agency reported.

“Yes, we had detailed information about the attack, but we never imagined that a Muslim would kill a Muslim on the hour of breaking the fast in Ramadan,” Muwafi said following a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Tuesday.

On Sunday, some 35 gunman stormed an Egyptian border police station in Rafah, killing 16 policemen. A number of terrorists then commandeered two vehicles and tried to break through the border into Israel, where they were killed by Israeli forces near Kerem Shalom.

The gunmen launched their assault on the Egyptian border guards as they were beginning the traditional feast at the end of a day of fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Israel said it knew of the impending attack and warned Cairo of such. On Thursday, Israel also warned its citizens to leave Sinai.

However Muwafi insisted that Egyptian forces have the upper hand in Sinai.

“This incident should never raise any questions regarding the efficiency of the security forces in Sinai and their alertness,” Muwafi said according to the report.

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