Amid rising tensions in the Sinai Peninsula, an Egyptian military helicopter overflew the southern Gaza Strip on Friday morning, Palestinian sources confirmed to The Times of Israel.
The aircraft buzzed the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah, the area in which Palestinian-operated smuggling tunnels run beneath border, before returning to Egyptian airspace. The rare overpass was the first incident of its kind in recent memory and occurred during the Egyptian military’s latest crackdown on Islamist terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula.
According to a security source, the helicopter pilot inadvertently strayed over the Strip during an operation against Islamists in Sinai near the Egyptian border with Gaza and was only over the Hamas-controlled territory for a few minutes before the IDF radioed him. The helicopter pilot promptly returned to Sinai.
According to the terms of the 1979 Camp David peace accords, the area near the border in Sinai is demilitarized, monitored by the Multinational Force and Observers, an international peacekeeping force. Any Egyptian deployment in the region must be approved by Israel.
Cairo is concerned that some of the armed elements operating in the lawless Sinai peninsula find refuge in the Gaza Strip and that they use the subterranean smuggling tunnels running beneath the shared border to evade Egyptian authorities.
In the past weeks the Egyptian military has carried out a campaign to destroy hundreds of the smuggling tunnels and clamp down on Islamist terrorist groups in the Sinai as attacks increase against Egyptian military personnel. Several Egyptian soldiers have been killed and injured in the past week and a half since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
One tiny country has led the world in COVID vaccination. If Israel’s achievement makes you proud, there’s something you should know. Huge audiences have flocked to The Times of Israel recently from countries where Israel normally makes the news only because of its conflicts.
They’ve been coming here to read a very different kind of article. We’ve been the go-to site for everyone intrigued by the success story of the “Vaccination Nation.”
As ToI's Health and Science correspondent, I’ve written much of this coverage - and it’s been exhilarating to see its impact. Our journalism has inspired many articles in media outlets worldwide. I know this because international journalists have often contacted me for input.
Your support, through The Times of Israel Community, helps us to continue providing surprising, impressive stories from this small state to readers around the world. Will you join our Community today?
Nathan Jeffay, Health & Science Correspondent
We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.
That’s why we come to work every day - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.
So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.
For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.