Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has blamed Mossad, the Israeli spy agency, for a terrorist attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai on Sunday night. The act had further escalated tensions between the formerly allied nations.
The group’s official website posted that the attack “can be attributed to Mossad, which has been seeking to abort the revolution since its inception,” and went on to claim that that act was an attempt to cast a shadow on the administration of President Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi, who left the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party shortly after having been elected president, has not yet commented on the Brotherhood's remarks.
Meanwhile, Israel denies the claims, likewise pointing the finger at Hamas, which denies the accusations as well.
The blame game follows Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's comments that the attack should serve as a “wake-up call” to the new Egyptian president about growing volatility in the Sinai Peninsula.
Israel has long accused Egypt of losing its grip over the area.
The 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed after militants attacked a checkpoint along the border with Israel late Sunday night.
The attackers then drove their vehicles through a security fence and onto Israel territory, but the assault was quickly ended by an Israeli airstrike that killed at least eight of the militants.
It was one of the deadliest attacks to take place in the region in years – the Sinai border has been mostly quiet since Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement three decades ago.
The escalation comes just five days after Tel Aviv announced that it had received a letter from Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, which reportedly outlined the new president’s desire to work jointly with Israel on getting the Middle East peace process back on track.
But according to his spokesman, Morsi never wrote such a letter.
And with the spotlight back on the Sinai Peninsula in recent days, many are wondering whether there is reason to believe that the key agreement between Egypt and Israel, known as the Camp David Accords, is under threat.
The treaty was signed in 1978, and limits the number of troops Egypt can place in the peninsula, as well as their movements.
The attack is the first security challenge for Morsi, who took office in June.
Morsi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak worked closely with Israel on matters relating to Sinai, but it remains unclear whether that will continue under Egypt's new leadership.
Eric Draitser, a geopolitical analyst at Stopimperialism.org, believes the attack in Sinai works to Israel's benefit.
The attack allows Israel to continue subjecting the Palestinian people to egregious violations of international law, as a threat from the Sinai Peninsula gives Israel a reason to continue isolating and ghettoizing the Gaza Strip, he told RT. “To legitimize their attacks on Palestinians, they have to have an enemy. The enemy can’t be the weak and defenseless Palestinians, it has to be extremists in Sinai.”
The aim of those behind the attack is to destroy whatever cooperation that does exists as a remnant of Mubarak-era Egyptian-Israeli treaties, he states.
Draitser also believes that despite unambiguous anti-Israeli rhetoric, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is in fact playing right along with the West and international institutions. “They’ve paid lip service to anti-Zionists in Egypt while at the same time they court the IMF, the World Bank… they court a lot of Western institutions. Israel is an easy scapegoat for them.”
The Muslim Brotherhood is in fact “bought and paid for just as the Israelis are,” he concludes.