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These newly re-circulated terrorists include members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Hamas, all of whom walked out of Wadi Natrun prison when the guards purportedly left their posts amid the turmoil of the rioting. However, other reports have said that the convicts were released in a Hezbollah-led operation, and that the Hezbollah- and Hamas-affiliated escapees returned to Gaza.
Other terrorists who were confirmed as having escaped from jail were two top Hamas leaders, including Mohammad a-Shaer, a renowned weapons smuggler. Perhaps more disturbing was the escape of 26 Hezbollah fighters convicted of planning terror strikes in the Suez Canal. Among them was the notorious Hezbollah terrorist Sami Shihab, sentenced to 15 years in prison for planning attacks on Israeli tourists in the Sinai. According to Mahmoud Komati, a senior member of Hezbollah, all men were “out of jail and safe.”
In the Sinai, Egyptian security officials announced that 50 terrorists from the Islamic group, Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, had broken out of jail. They had all been convicted of planning the truck bombing at the Sinai Taba Hilton in 2004, an explosion which killed 31 people and wounded 179.
Egyptian officials also confirmed that Hamas’s most notorious smuggling experts, including Muhammad Shaar, had broken out of the El Arish jail and were headed for Gaza City.
In an attempt to regain control of the situation in the Sinai, Egyptian forces have increased their presence in the area by adding an estimated 800 soldiers to the fight. Even though their presence violates the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli treaty, it is believed the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has given the nod of approval.
That, of course makes, sense given the increased threat a militarized terror base in the Sinai poses for both countries. For its part, the Israeli IDF has also beefed up security along the Gaza border. However, this increase in troop strength is not just out of fear from terrorist activity, but also from a possible mass influx of Bedouins, who may flee from the unrest in Egypt into Israel.
Lastly, the sole vestige of an international presence in the Sinai appears to be on its way out, which will surely exacerbate the precarious situation. Disturbing reports have surfaced that the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), made up of mostly Americans and Canadians, is on maximum alert in its northern Sinai base and is awaiting evacuation to Europe, ending a thirty year presence in the region.
Most infuriatingly, despite evidence to the contrary, the Muslim Brotherhood still continues to play the role of benevolent peacemaker. Violent events unfolding in the Sinai reveal a far different view of the terrorist organization’s ulterior aims, however. For those who continue to invest in the idea of a nonviolent Brotherhood, we can only pray that these facts serve as a final warning.
Frank Crimi is a writer living in San Diego, California. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog, www.politicallyunbalanced.com.
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