Israel said that it would fight with Egypt against Islamic State militants. The declaration comes from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after ISIS attacks killed Egyptian troops in Sinai.
Egypt, a key U.S. ally, controls one of the most significant shipping lanes in the world, the Suez Canal. According to local media reports, Netanyahu expressed concerns about ISIS to Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi after several Egyptian people had died in recent terrorist attacks.
Reports also suggest the ISIS affiliate group Bytul-Maqdis has developed operational abilities against the government forces in Sinai. Middle East Monitor refers to local newspapers such as Yedioth Ahronoth and Israeli Radio.
The latter of the two quoted the Israeli prime minister naming Hamas, ISIS and Iran in the same breath as sponsors of terrorism. According to the newspaper, Netanyahu confronted around 200 “potential terror attacks” in 2015 itself.
Meanwhile, Egypt launched airstrikes against ISIS militant targets in Sinai Thursday. The Guardian reported that 23 fighters had been killed in the airstrikes. According to an army spokesman, the fighters killed in the airstrikes took part in Wednesday’s combat which killed four officers. He said that 17 soldiers and 100 militants had been killed in the fighting.
According to Sisi, the pro-Isis Sinai Province as well as other extremist factions in Egypt poses existential threats to the country. He believes that the militant groups are dangerous for other Arab nations and Western powers.
Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported that extremist groups had carried out terrorist attacks June 30, the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. “The most violent took place in north Sinai when a car bomb blast killed tens of troops," the newspaper reported, “The series of terrorist attacks followed the assassination of Attorney General Hisham Barakat.”
According to Israeli website News One, Sisi accelerated “the execution of death sentences against the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood after the assassination of the Egyptian Attorney General.” It published an article called "Terror targets the regime of President Al-Sisi."
News One reported that Sisi was concerned that ISIS might eventually rise as a powerful militant group in the country. The Israeli website notes that Sisi has been highly active in fighting extremism.