Egyptian army mulls Gaza strike

Oct. 3, 2013 at 6:54 AM
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EL-ARISH, Egypt, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The Egyptian army may consider a military strike in Gaza unless attacks on soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula stop, Egyptian security officials said.

The army has drawn up a plan to strike a number of sites in the Gaza Strip, including Rafah and Khan Yunis, if attacks on soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula continue, Egyptian security officials told the Ma'an news agency Wednesday.

The officials said military reconnaissance planes have examined sites for possible strikes. The officials said the Egyptian air force could hit vehicles traveling across the border to deliver smuggled goods and destroy smuggling tunnels.

"All options are open," the officials said.

Egypt, which has conducted a widespread military offensive in Sinai against militant groups attacking Egyptian civilians and soldiers, has often accused members of Hamas' military wing in Gaza of being involved in terrorist activities in Sinai.

"The Egyptian army does not believe the population of Gaza is involved in the violence in Sinai, but certain factions strongly support Sinai groups. The tunnels play a major role in the communication between both sides," a senior Egyptian official told Ma'an.

"In addition, Hamas, although its involvement is limited, is responsible for maintaining control of the smuggling tunnels as well as the factions operating in the coastal enclave," the official said.

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