Egyptian Air Force jets enter Gaza airspace in bombing raids
The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) began intensive bombardment near the Gaza Strip this morning in the area surrounding the Egyptian town of Rafah. According to Palestinian media reports EAF planes entered into the airspace of Gaza itself.
The target of the air raids are positions belonging to ISIS’s Egypt branch, known as “Sinai Province.” Arabic language Sky News reported 15 fatalities thus far due to the bombings.
Hamas at times helps ISIS supporters in the Sinai Peninsula by supplying them with weapons and supplies smuggled out of the strip. Reports of bombings within the strip itself have increased tensions between Egypt and Hamas.
Recently Egypt has been flooding the smuggling tunnels that Hamas has set up connecting the strip to Sinai, causing the tunnels to collapse while killing the Hamas operatives inside. Last week a high ranking Hamas operative, Abed al Rahman Salah al Mubashar, who was one of the kidnappers of Gilad Schalit, was killed in a tunnel collapse due to flooding.
Continued Egyptian bombardment and floodings threaten the drinking water reserves of those in the strip, which are already in danger of salt contamination due to overuse. Tensions spiked on Friday when a Palestinian teen was shot to death after swimming across the border into the Sinai peninsula.
Hamas is very limited with regards to making any sort of response against the Egyptian Air Force. While Hamas does have a supply of shoulder mounted anti-aircraft missiles, it is unlikely that they would risk a direct confrontation with Egypt that would result from a direct attack on an Egyptian fighter jet.