JERUSALEM, Aug. 19 (UPI) — Attacks on civilians in Israel show a complete disregard for human life, Human Rights Watch said, as some analysts suggest al-Qaida may be at work in Egypt.
Gunmen dressed in Egyptian military uniforms killed at least six Israelis and injured dozens more in a series of attacks Thursday in southern Israel.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement the attack “shows an abominable disregard for human life.”
The rights organization points to Israeli media reports as saying the assault came from militants who crossed the Sinai border with Egypt. Egyptian authorities denied the allegation though Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in a statement said he was discussing the security situation in Sinai with top administration officials.
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle cites the Israeli military as saying Hamas coordinated the attack with a group calling itself al-Qaida in the Egyptian Sinai.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida’s new leader who hails from Egypt, called on sympathizers in a recent message to exploit the post-revolutionary political situation in Egypt by installing Islamic law in the country.
Khalil al-Anani, an Islamic studies author, told Deutsche Welle there was no coordination between the Egyptian group and the main al-Qaida branch. But Lorenzo Vidino, a Middle East expert at the Center for Security Studies in Zurich, said that might not matter.
“After the Sinai operations, attacking Israel over the border is the next logical step,” he told Deutsche Welle.