TheTelegraph reports that Israel killed four suspected “militants” in drone strike in Egypt.
Although reports of Israeli drone use over Sinai have surfaced in the past, this is the first to come with official acknowledgement.
In a statement on its website, the jihadist Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group confirmed that its militants had been the target of the Friday strike. It listed the name of four fighters who had been killed. They are all identified as Sinai residents.
The group was targeted as they prepared to fire rockets into Israel, said the statement. They said that the mission’s leader had escaped.
Of course one is never sure what to trust when such “militants” report, though I find it amusing (in a dark way) that they report they were taken out “as they prepared to fire rockets into Israel” — something they obviously view as the lawful pursuit of their everyday business.
Security officials said that the attack had taken place with the consent of the Egyptian authorities, Reuters and the Associated Press reported. If true, this level of cooperation would be a departure from that experienced under the rule of President Mohamed Morsi, ousted during a military takeover last month.
I’m not sure who the “security officials” mentioned above are, or from which country. Of course Egyptian Army officers denied that the strike had Egyptian consent and also claimed they found only a charred body and a motorcycle. As I said reports from this part of the world take someone with a good knowledge of Arabic and local tradition to decipher. The Telegraph further tells us that:
The strike is believed to be linked to ‘security concerns’ which prompted the Israeli authorities to close its southernmost airport, Eliat, for two hours on Thursday.
Because apparently just the firing of rockets into Israel isn’t reason enough for retaliation — except to sane people, of course, but there seems to be a remarkable lack of those among journalists and politicians working in the region.