The instability following Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster has raised fears that Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Egypt might launch new attacks on Israel, Bloomberg reports.
Mass protests against Mubarak resulted in weakened security and enabled some prisoners to successfully overpower their guards. One such prisoner was Hassan Weshah, who was arrested by Egyptian forces in October and entered Gaza recently after breaking out of prison in Egypt.
“Resisting occupation is the obligation of every Palestinian,” Weshah said from Gaza. Ayman Noufal, one of the top commanders of the Hamas militia al-Qassam Brigades, also escaped Egypt after three years of imprisonment. At least nine Palestinian prisoners made their way to Gaza from Egypt, Bloomberg reports.
Israel has stepped up its security efforts since the protests in Egypt, even allowing modest deployments of Egyptian troops to the Sinai region for the first time since the Israel-Egypt peace treaty in 1979 which specified for the Sinai to remain demilitarized.