Explosion destroys part of Egyptian intelligence building in Rafah

Sinai peninsula has been a hotbed of global jihadi activity, including an attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in August

Palestinians walk toward the Egyptian border crossing with Gaza at Rafah, August 2012 (photo credit: AP)
Palestinians walk toward the Egyptian border crossing with Gaza at Rafah, August 2012 (photo credit: AP)

A large blast on the Egyptian side of the city of Rafah, which is divided between Egypt and Gaza, on Saturday night destroyed part of a building used by Egyptian intelligence, Al Arabiya reported.

According to the report, security personnel were deployed in large numbers to the scene of the explosion, cordoning off the area and searching for possible explosives that hadn’t been detonated.

Recent months have seen a rise in friction between the Egyptian government and increasingly powerful terrorist forces in the Sinai peninsula. Global jihadi elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda have been exploiting the sparse military presence mandated by the peace treaty with Israel to entrench their presence in the territory, using it as a staging ground from which to launch attacks against Israeli and Egyptian targets.

In September, 20-year-old IDF soldier Netanel Yahalomi was killed by terrorists near the Israeli-Egyptian border. The three terrorists, who were planning a major attack along the border, were subsequently killed by IDF troops from the male-female Caracal Battalion. According to a member of Egypt’s Supreme Military Council, the attack on Israeli soldiers was carried out by members of the terror group Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdes, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

In August, a brazen attack by Islamist terrorists resulted in the death of 16 Egyptian soldiers and an infiltration into Israel.

In August 2011, eight Israelis were killed in a highly coordinated series of attacks on the road to Eilat that runs along Israel’s border with Egypt.

There has also been sporadic projectile fire from the Sinai into Israel, including rocket salvos at the resort city of Eilat, and recently, a barrage of mortar shells at an agricultural community near the point where the Israeli, Gazan and Egyptian borders converge.

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