Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called a major attack by Sinai terrorists a “wake up call” for Egypt.
“We hope this will be a fitting wake-up call for the Egyptians to take matters into their own hands on their side more forcefully,” Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday.
Armed attackers in the Sinai Peninsula killed at least 15 Egyptian soldiers at the Rafah security checkpoint before attempting to infiltrate the Israeli border on Sunday.
The attackers, who Barak identified as members of the Global Jihadi terror group, also kidnapped several Egyptian soldiers on Sunday evening, according to reports. Two of the vehicles used in the attack then crossed the border into Israel, the first blown up by the terrorists to breach the fence, and the second targeted and hit by Israeli forces, according to the Israeli military.
Israeli intelligence had information on the planned attack, which allowed the military to have helicopters in the area to strike the vehicle, an IDF spokesman said Monday.
Israel and Egypt remained in close contact during the attack, Barak said, according to reports.
On Friday, the U.S. Embassy in Israel called on American citizens to “take precautions” in traveling to the Sinai. The warning came a day after Israel’s National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau called on “all Israelis in Sinai to leave the area immediately and return home.”
The embassy’s security message pointed out that there have been multiple kidnappings in the Sinai of U.S. citizens over the past four years and that kidnappings of foreign tourists in the Sinai have increased since January 2012.
U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to the Sinai, except by air to Sharm el Sheik.