Militants ramped up their attacks by attacking five joint military-police checkpoints on Wednesday, prompting the Egyptian military to launch airstrikes from Apache helicopters. Nile TV reported the airstrikes killed at least 20. It was the first time Egypt had deployed its air force in Sinai since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The security operation was launched in response to a weekend attack when masked gunmen killed 16 Egyptian border guards before slipping across the border into Israel.
With Mubarak’s security apparatus virtually disintegrating in January of last year, a tacit understanding between Israel and Egypt was reached regarding the need to bolster the latter’s military presence in the region, Ahram online reports.