Israeli security officials are on high alert after announcing "concrete intelligence" about a 10-man terrorist squad which hopes to launch an attack along Israeli-Egyptian border in the coming days.
Today's start of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, may be seen as "the right time" to strike, Israeli Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said Tuesday.
The cell is believed to be part of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which Vilnai said has been determined to wage attacks from Sinai. It would be the second attempt by a large team of terrorists to penetrate the Egyptian border and strike inside Israel this month. Eight people died and 30 were wounded in a coordinated, multi-stage attack near Eilat Aug. 19.
Two highways in southern Israel have been closed due to the threat. Israeli security officials reportedly are coordinating with their Egyptian counterparts, but the relationship is described as "tenuous," in part due to changing Egyptian political dynamics following the fall of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak. But other reports indicated Egypt's military attacked terrorist bases in Sinai today, with as many as 1,500 troops.
"We've been seeing more SA-7s and RPGs coming across," an Israeli official told Reuters. But "[i]t's not a major qualitative enhancement for them." Most of those weapons already were available in Gaza and anti-tank weapons were used in the Eilat attack and an April attack on a school bus that killed a teenager.