The official narrative in which an Israeli tank “accidentally” hit an Egyptian military post on the border with Israel over the weekend has been met with doubts in Egypt as Israel ramps up a non-stop, deadly and indiscriminate bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip for the third consecutive week.
An Egyptian retired army officer and an engineer specialised in electronic warfare opined to The New Arab that the attack near the Kerem Shalom area was “not accidental”, as the Israeli defence ministry claimed. Instead, he argued it was related to a “foul play.”
“Technically, the tanks utilised by the Israeli army can never miss their target,” the former senior officer claimed to TNA, on condition of anonymity since he was not authorised to talk to the media.
“The Israelis have always bragged about their state-of-the-art Merkava tanks and high precision. Such a tank, which ideally accommodates a crew of a commander, a gunner, a driver and a loader, could not bomb a post by mistake as they only fire based on planned and specified coordinates and details of the targets fed to its system” the senior officer added.
Moreover, local tribal members in the area told TNA that there had been an intense Egyptian army presence across the borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip following Israel’s “accidental” attack on Sunday, 22 October.
“There has been a rage among North Sinai residents following the incidents. For us, it’s like a declaration of war on Egypt by Israel,” a tribal leader, who declined to be named for security reasons, remarked to TNA.
The Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing had been bombed more than once, leading Egypt to eventually shut it down until recently, where only a trickle of aid has been allowed through to the desperate Palestinian population besieged on the other side.
“The incident resulted in the injury of at least nine soldiers and has also stirred a state of fury among the Egyptian army personnel, who are obligated to abide by a peace treaty Egypt had entered with Israel since 1970s,” another high-level security source, who asked to remain anonymous, told TNA.
Egypt and Israel have technically been at peace since 1978, sharing solid diplomatic, economic and security ties. But the Egyptian people have been at loggerheads with their successive regimes over normalisation, as many believe Israel has been a coloniser of Palestine since the 1948 war, an oppressor of the Palestinian people, and a former occupier of the Sinai Peninsula.
“Israelis are not dumb to wage a war against Egypt. I would say they are showing off their military power. It could also be interpreted as a warning that Egypt needs to be less aggressive in handling the ongoing Hamas-Israel fight,” the military retiree contended.
“In a nutshell, it is very likely to be an intentional incident,” he mused.