The Israeli Defense Ministry confirmed on August 5 that an air strike carried out by the nation’s air forces killed at least two individuals who belonged to what was described as a targeted terror cell in southern Gaza, which is administered by the Palestinian Authority. The IDF described the attack as a “surgical air strike” that was carried out by the air forces in cooperation with the Shin Bet security agency of Israel. The strike took place near the town of Rafah, which is close to Gaza’s border with Egypt.
One of those killed was Ahmad Sa’id Ismail (22) of Tafah Gaza. According to the IDF, he had been active in terrorist activities coordinated in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. In a statement, the IDF said that Ismail had taken part in the June 18 shooting of an Israeli citizen working on the security fence on Israel’s southern border with Egypt. The Israeli was killed in the assault. Ismail was since plotting another attack on Israelis in the area of the Sinai border, and was counting on the cooperation of 19-year-old Eid Nadi Uchal. Both of them were killed by the Israeli air strike on August 5. Local media quoted Palestinian Authority sources who indicated that at least one member of the dead pair had belonged to the Popular Resistance Committees terrorist organization.
It is feared the Palestinian terrorist organizations will now respond with rocket attacks on Israel in retribution for the Israeli air strikes.
A senior Hamas terror official , Razi Hamad, said over the August 4-5 weekend that the connection between Gaza and Egypt has grown stronger since the election of Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamad added that the regime of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had a 'negative' attitude towards Hamas. He also asserted the Mubarak government chose to remain neutral when Israel attacked Gaza terrorists. Hamad implied the new Egyptian regime might not remain quiet in the wake of such incidents in future.
In a sign of cooperation between the new government of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, Egypt eased its visa requirements for Gazans under the age of 40 who wish to travel to Egypt through the Rafiah border crossing into the Sinai Peninsula. Israel has since issued a warning against tourism in the Sinai Peninsula. Among the popular tourist sites in the region is Mount Sinai, which is holy to the three Abrahamic faiths, and also the Orthodox Christian monastery of St Catherine. Both of these receive thousands of religious pilgrims each year. The official alert came following the release of Hisham Sa’idmi – a terrorist who has been linked to Al Qaeda. The Israeli warning noted, "Terrorist organizations in Gaza and other elements are actively planning to perpetrate attacks, especially abductions, against Israeli tourists in Sinai in the very near future.”