Egyptian border terrorists were educated, upscale

Israel and Egypt are investigating the border clash that claimed the life of IDF Cpl. Netanel Yahalomi last month. Recent information indicates that the attack was not the work of radical Bedouins, but of Egyptian family men no one suspected were jihad supporters.

 The two known gunmen killed in the Sept. 21 Sinai attack have been identified as Ahmad Wajiya, 31, who was the lead singer of a religious music group and a father of two; and his cousin, Bahaa Zakzuk, 25, who held a degree in literature and was the father of a little boy.

Both were members of a respectable, upscale Egyptian family. Egyptian authorities believe they turned into radical jihadists after becoming members of an extremist mosque in Cairo. They told their families they were attending a religious summer camp.

The identity of the third gunmen is still unknown, as his remains have made the identification process difficult.

The information paints a new profile of Egyptian terrorists, a new threat for Israel to deal with against the backdrop of lax security in the Sinai Peninsula.

Professor Yoram Meital, an expert in Middle Eastern affairs from Ben-Gurion University who specializes in Egypt, claims Egyptian intelligence must focus on the heart of Egypt.

“There are plenty of voices and preachers holding extreme views that have found new audiences since Mubarak’s downfall, because the pressure once applied by the Egyptian intelligence services has loosened nearly completely,” Meital said.

“Wajiya and Zakzuk are not 18-year-old boys acting out on momentary enthusiasm. The collapsing order en-abled people with extreme views to operate, the fringe of which we are seeing now.” —