Israel’s intelligence community has assessed that the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt would push Hamas back into the arms of Iran.
Officials said the intelligence community has warned that the ouster of Egypt’s first Islamist president could spark an Islamist backlash against Israel. They said the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies in the Gaza Strip, particularly Hamas, would no longer be restrained by the ceasefire arranged by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in November 2012.
“The Brotherhood is already signaling to its friends that they wouldn’t mind a regional crisis to show the Egyptian military the price of the coup,”
an official said.
So far, Al Qaida-aligned militias, some of them believed linked to the Brotherhood, have been attacking Egyptian military and police outposts near the border with Israel. One militia, Ansar Al Beit Al Maqdis, said it fired two BM-21 Grad rockets toward Israel on July 4.
Officials said Hamas could decide to violate the ceasefire with Israel that ended the mini-war in November. They said Hamas lost a key ally in Morsi, who had been expected to lift the siege from the Gaza Strip and help Hamas win recognition in the West.
“Without Morsi and Egypt, the only address is Iran,” the official said.
“Iran is waiting for this moment.”
The intelligence assessment expected that the Egyptian military would be too stretched to quell the insurgency in Sinai as well as the Brotherhood revolt on the African mainland. This could result in the renewal of massive arms smuggling to both Hamas and the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad after a sharp decline in 2013.
“The first priority of the military will be to protect itself from the Brotherhood,” the official said. “That means that the bulk of the manpower will stay around Cairo and Alexandria for the next few months.