Sixteen Egyptian soldiers are dead after unidentified jihadists carried out a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula, striking at the only institution standing in the way of an Islamist takeover of Egypt. The assailants were stopped as they entered Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood predictably accused Israeli intelligence of being responsible for the massacre, but all indications point to Al-Qaeda-type jihadists.
The operation began when about 35 terrorists traveling in three vehicles attacked an Egyptian military outpost, killing the 16 soldiers. They then went into Israel with bomb belts strapped to their waists and an armored car carrying about half a ton of explosives. The Israelis, who received a tip devoid of any actionable details over the weekend, launched three strikes, destroying the vehicle and six or seven terrorists. The rest escaped. It is thought that the terrorists wanted to kidnap an Israeli soldier.
The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas condemned the attacks, with Egyptian President Morsi declaring three days of mourning. Palestinians living in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip are paying a heavy price. The Israelis were forced to close the only access route to Gaza, the Egyptians had to close the Rafah crossing point and Hamas closed down the underground tunnels used for smuggling.