ISIS terrorists were behind an attempted hijacking of an Egyptian missile boat in the Mediterranean last month, and planned to strike Israeli maritime targets, Ch. 2 News said Monday.
The craft was to be used to attack Israeli vessels and offshore gas drilling rigs, located further up the coast, according to the report.
Fears of exactly such an attack have prompted Israel’s Defense Ministry and navy to deploy new seacraft and other resources, including new patrol boats and frigates, drones and anti-missile systems, to protect against such seaborne attacks against drilling platforms in its 36 trillion cu.-ft. Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, worth an estimated $60 billion.
In the first-ever such attack against Egyptian forces, the military ship came under fire by four smaller craft on Nov. 12, while it was in the midst of what the Al Ahram daily called “a combat exercise” in the Mediterranean near the Suez Canal, some 40 nautical miles north of the port of Damietta.
According to the Israeli account, the terrorists even managed to put one of their own on the bridge of the missile boat, after “staging an accident” at sea with the naval craft.
After commandeering the craft as it exited the northern end of the Canal, the Egyptian fleet understood that something was amiss when the missile boat did not respond to requests to identify itself. Apparently, at one point, the hijackers used the radio system, giving away their identity.
Once the Egyptian forces realized that the ship had been hijacked, several other vessels entered the chase after the abducted missile boat. After an exchange of fire between the parties, the ship was hit and “neutralized,” according to the Israeli account.
Eight sailors are still missing at sea, and five naval personnel were hospitalized in the bold raid, in which military forces clashed with and destroyed four boats used by the assailants and arrested 32 suspects.