The attack on Egyptian and Israeli border posts which killed and wounded dozens of security guards and Islamist gunmen has exposed the lawlessness of Egypt's Sinai region.
At least eight gunmen opened fire at a checkpoint near the city of Rafah where the borders of Egypt, Israel, and Gaza converge.
Egyptian security officers were just sitting down to their evening Iftar meal to break the daily fast during Ramadan when the gunmen struck.
They seized two armoured vehicles and drove towards the Israeli border. One exploded by the security fence by the Kerem Shalom crossing, the other smashed through a gap. It was then destroyed in an Israeli air strike.
The Israelis said four attackers were killed on their side of the border and three inside Egypt.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) launched a manhunt for any other gunmen and instructed civilians to stay inside their homes.
Egypt's state news agency said the attack was by militants from Gaza who had entered Egypt using the tunnels underneath the border crossing. Other reports suggested the attackers were from both Gaza and Sinai.
Since the uprising which helped overthrow longtime president Hosni Mubarak last year, the Sinai region has become increasingly unstable.
This year there have been almost daily incidents between the Egyptian army and international jihadists from Yemen, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It is thought they are trying to take advantage of the turmoil in Egypt to launch attacks on Israel helped by Islamist Bedouin tribesmen and smugglers.
In the past 18 months there have been 15 attacks on the pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, condemned the attack calling it an "ugly crime". But if it is proved some or all of the attackers came from Gaza it will be held partially responsible by both Egypt and Israel for failing to control groups within its territory.
However, the Egyptian authorities cannot control Sinai. There are about 1,000 soldiers stationed there, attached to the Egyptian Border Police. They are not from elite units and are not trained in counter terrorism.
People in Rafah are reported to be outraged at the killing of the security guards and demand action.
This presents the newly elected Egyptian president, from the Muslim Brotherhood, a problem. Mohammed Morsi was quoted recently as saying he did not want to give the impression that he was cooperating with Israel on security as public opinion would not accept it.
Apart from the security guards who were killed, and their families, the other losers in the aftermath of the attack are the people of the Gaza Strip.
The Egyptians have closed the Rafah crossing into Egypt, and the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, used to transport hundreds of truckloads of goods from Israel every week, for the foreseeable future.