Several hours after two successive explosions occurred in southern Sinai, Egypt, near the borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian army announced in a brief statement that investigations showed that two drones had fallen, coming from the south to the north of the Red Sea, one of which was targeted outside Egyptian airspace in the Gulf region. Aqaba.
Before this statement, users on social media sites in Egypt pointed fingers at various parties, including Israel, but what do we know so far about these two incidents?
Explosion near Taba Hospital
In the early hours of Friday morning, an object exploded after it fell from the sky onto a hospital and ambulance hospital doctors’ residence in the coastal city of Taba, causing minor injuries to six people, according to an Egyptian government statement.
The city of Taba is located on the eastern border of Egypt, and is connected by a land border to the city of Eilat in southern Israel, and is more than 200 kilometers away from the border city of Rafah with the Gaza Strip.
Initially, the matter was interpreted on social media sites in Egypt as perhaps an “Israeli missile strike,” and some called on the Egyptian army to respond to what they considered “an aggression against Egyptian territory.”
On the other hand, some wondered whether the explosion occurred due to “an incorrect launch of a missile from the Gaza Strip” or perhaps a missile launched “from Yemen towards Israel.”
The proponents of these different interpretations did not provide any evidence to support their views.
At the same time, the Cairo News Channel – which is close to the authorities in Egypt – published, quoting what it called a “sovereign source,” saying that Egypt “reserves the right to respond, and that all options are open,” once the destination of the missile launch was determined.
A brief Egyptian statement
Before noon on Friday, the Egyptian military spokesman announced that the cause of the explosion was the fall of a drone, which he described as “unidentified.”
The Egyptian army’s statement did not accuse any party of being behind the incident. Colonel Staff Colonel Gharib Abdel Hafez, the military spokesman, said in a statement that the incident “is under investigation by a specialized committee of the relevant authorities.”
Later on Friday evening, the Egyptian army issued another statement, in which it stated that the two explosions were due to the fall of two drones coming from the south of the Red Sea to the north, one of which was targeted outside Egyptian airspace, before part of its debris fell in an uninhabited area in the city of Nuweiba. While the other fell in the city of Taba.
The Egyptian statement did not clarify who targeted the two planes.
Retired Brigadier General Safwat Al-Zayat believes that arriving at a conclusive explanation about who launched these drones may take time. He says, “A joint investigation may be conducted between the Egyptian and Israeli army, as there is ongoing cooperation between the two parties.”
Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said that Israel detected an air threat in the Red Sea region, and warplanes were called in to deal with it.
Adraee also said through his account on the “X” website (formerly Twitter), that Israeli estimates indicate that what happened in Egypt resulted from this threat, and “Israel will work with Egypt and the United States to enhance protection in the region.”
Several hours after this statement, Adraee returned to confirm that Israeli aircraft were able to intercept what it called “hostile targets” that were in the region, adding that those targets did not pose any threat to citizens.
Adraee said that the interceptions were “outside Israeli sovereignty,” meaning they took place outside Israeli territory.
Then, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that the drones that struck Egypt were launched by “the Yemeni Ansar Allah movement against Israel.”
In a statement, the Ministry condemned the damage caused to Egypt by those drones, which were launched “with the aim of harming Israel.”
Professor of Political Science at Cairo University, Mustafa Kamel Al-Sayyed, describes Egypt’s handling of such events as being “extremely cautious.”
He says: “I do not think that the Egyptian government will respond to this, because it does not want to enter into an armed confrontation with anyone. I believe that the Egyptian reaction will be very cautious and not exaggerated either.”
Al-Sayed cites that Egypt “accepted an Israeli apology” a few days ago, after an Israeli shell fell on Egyptian soldiers in Sinai.
A second explosion in Nuweiba
Hours after the Taba explosion, another explosion occurred near a power station in the city of Nuweiba, south of Sinai, as a result of what appeared to be a “missile launched from an unknown direction,” according to press sources and eyewitnesses who spoke to BBC Arabic.
The city of Nuweiba is about 50 kilometers south of the city of Taba, and the distance between it and the Gaza Strip is estimated at about 250 kilometers.
Video clips show what appeared to be a “drone” flying overhead, seconds before the explosion occurred.
Egyptian media reported reports of Egyptian warplanes flying over Nuweiba and Taba since the dawn hours, that is, shortly after the first explosion.
Mustafa Kamel Al-Sayyid and Safwat Al-Zayat rule out that Friday’s explosions were intentional, as both sides of the conflict do not want to antagonize Egypt, especially since it is considered the mediator between Israel and Hamas, as they confirm.
Dr. Mustafa Kamel Al-Sayed believes that these facts do not amount to a major threat to Egyptian national security. He says: “There will be a danger if someone tries to enter Egypt, or deliberately strikes targets in Egypt.”
Al-Zayat expects shells from “irrational” weapon systems to fall repeatedly inside Egyptian territory, in light of what he describes as an ill-defined situation. He says, “I cannot say that it is targeting primarily the Egyptian side.”
Dr. Mustafa Kamel Al-Sayed agrees with this opinion. It is believed that Egyptian mediation will continue despite Friday’s events.
The post first appeared on www.bbc.com