Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited the border area where 16 Egyptian frontier guards were slaughtered by gunmen on Sunday.
The suspected Islamists crossed into Egypt from the Gaza Strip before launching the attack, they then stole two armoured vehicles and headed to nearby Israel where they were killed by Israeli aircraft:
“I think it is clear that Israel and Egypt have a common interest to keep the border between us quiet. At the same time, it turns out time and again that when it comes to the security of Israeli citizens, the state of Israel can only rely on itself,” said Netanyahu.
In response Egypt has deployed helicopter gunships accompanied by ground forces to the Sinai Peninsula close to Cairo’s border with Israel where the killings happened.
Egypt has also closed the Rafah border crossing with Israel to prevent any more suspects from escaping.
The ambush adds the difficulties faced by the new Egyptian government led by Mohamed Morsi:
Dr Gamil Eltahawy is a Professor at Egypt’s Minya University:
“This attack has shaken Egypt’s political stability. When political stability is affected, economic insecurity follows. There are external forces responsible for this.”
Hamas, which governs Gaza, denies any involvement and the gunmen remain unidentified.
Egypt described the killers as “infidels” and vowed to hunt down any person involved with the carnage.