The Egyptian-controlled Sinai Desert has become increasingly lawless, and that may have allowed terrorists to carry out Thursday’s deadly attack near the border.
Israeli analysts told The New York Times that the gunmen in the bus strike may have come from Gaza, traveled south via Sinai and crossed the border from there into Israel.
Israel has repeatedly issued stern warnings to tourists about the risk from Islamic extremists operating in the desert region.
In recent days, Egyptian soldiers mounted a crackdown in the northern Sinai after an attack on a police post in northern Sinai.
The area is dominated by Bedouin tribes and is known for illegal weapons sales and smuggling. A natural gas pipeline to Israel from Egypt has been attacked several times.
One of the most serious incidents took place In early 2007, when a Palestinian walked across the border into Israel and blew himself up inside a bakery in Eilat. Three people were killed.