The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant moved ominously close to Israel’s borders Wednesday, July 1 – not as predicted in the north, but in the south, from the Sinai Peninsula.
There, ISIS followed up on its Ramadan terror outrages in France, Tunisia, Kuwait and Kobani, with a massive assault on Egyptian forces in the northern Sinai region of Sheikh Zuwaid close to the Israeli and Gaza Strip borders.
Not just a terrorist attack, ISIS launched a full-scale military assault, starting with mortar fire and suicide bombings against five Egyptian military checkpoints.
Using a tactic similar to that employed in the capture of the Iraqi town of Ramadi last month, ISIS gunmen followed this initial assault by riding in on minivans, backed by heavy mortar fire, to storm the positions held by stunned Egyptian troops. Altogether some 20 Egyptian army positions were attacked in and around Sheikh Zuwaid.
Egyptian troop reinforcements setting out from El Arish to the northeast to aid the beleaguered force, went up on mine and bomb traps secretly planted around their camps and police stations. Egyptian Apache assault helicopters striking the ISIS force themselves faced ground fire from shoulder-borne anti-air missiles.
Our military sources also report that US Middle East forces located in Jordan and at Sharm el-Sheikh are on the ready in case the Islamic State decides to attack the US officers and men at the Multinational Force facility in Sinai, which is located near the Sheikh Zuwaid battlefield.