ATTACK: Jihadist threat in Sinai could be replicated in Syria
Cairo will also try to determine if there was any Gazan involvement in the attack, which also aimed to kill Israelis.
Given its current relations with the Muslim Brotherhood government in Cairo, it is doubtful Hamas would risk an action that required the mass killing of Egyptian policemen.
Hamas turns a blind eye every time a group of militants crosses into Sinai and back. Perhaps this is what happened this time as well. Hamas' leaders blamed Israel, as usual, claiming it was involved in carrying out the attack.
This was another assault with no address Israel can easily identify, unless proof emerges that Gazans were behind it.
There is no place against which Israel could retaliate - armed groups in Sinai apparently don't operate from known bases. In any case, given the current shaky relations with Egypt, Israel would be reluctant to mount an operation against its territory.
Sinai now, Syria later?
But in the longer term we face a much graver problem. The terrorists have demonstrated sophistication and daring. On the surface it seems like an operation that had been planned over a long time, and in its complexity it resembled global jihad attacks in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Until the air strike, it seemed the forces on the ground did not have a sufficiently strong and accurate firing device to stop the armored personnel carrier earlier without risking civilian casualties.
But not only is there no clear source for this attack (the Shin Bet's ability to obtain intelligence on such an amorphous terror group is very impressive ), there is no one to send a message to, even indirectly.
The Sinai terror groups are not the Hamas leadership in Gaza, against whom Israel can use force, or with whom it can negotiate indirectly with the Egyptians or Germans' brokerage.
Sinai has become, in essence, a no-man's land, a "failed state" that serves as fertile ground for ultra-extremist groups and the threat they pose is only now starting to crystallize.
This occurrence can be expected to repeat itself in a few months along the Syrian border with the Golan Heights. All the ingredients are already there: A dysfunctional central government, a violent civil war and a steady flow of extremists into the country from throughout the region, all wanting to take part in the new jihad.
How long will it take for these al-Qaida satellite groups, which are currently fighting the Alawite regime, to look westward from Syria's Hauran plateau and discover some tempting Israeli targets within reach?