Shin Bet Chief Reportedly Visits Egypt Over Rocket Fire From Sinai

Palestinian intelligence sources: Rocket fire at Israel, Jordan apparently initiated by Iranian intelligence officials.

The Arabic-language daily A Sharq al Awsat reported Friday that Shin Bet security service director Yuval Diskin had visited Egypt on Thursday to discuss with officials there the recent deadly rocket fire at Israel and Jordan, believed to have been perpetrated from Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin
Tomer Appelbaum

On Monday, Jordanian and Israeli police said that rockets from Sinai, where Islamist militants have operated in the past, hit Israel's and Jordan's Red Sea port resorts, killing a Jordanian civilian and injuring three others.

The London-based A Sharq al Awsat reported that Egyptian authorities were hunting after two trucks believed to have been used to launch Monday's barrage.

According to the report, Diskin met with senior Egyptian officials, including Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. A day earlier, an Israeli delegation crossed the Taba border terminal between Eilat and Sinai to coordinate the search for the trucks.

It was also reported on Friday that it was the commander of the Hamas military wing in the Rafah sector, Raed al Atar, who sent the rocket squad that fired at Eilat and Aqaba.

The Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Friday that Egypt had declared a state of emergency across the Sinai peninsula as part of efforts to capture the rocket squad responsible for the rocket fire. A group of senior Egyptian security officials were deployed to the area to hunt for the cell, believed to still be in Sinai, Ma'an reported.

Security officials told Haaretz that Palestinian intelligence indicates that Atar had order the launching without coordinating the move with Hamas' Gaza leadership, nor did he consult the commander of the Hamas' military wing in Gaza. However, according to Palestinian intelligence sources, Atar did coordinate the move with Hamas' Damascus-based leadership as well as Iranian intelligence figures, who were apparently the initiators of the operation.