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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Israel will consider more Egyptian troops in Sinai

Egyptian-Israeli border

Israeli officials stated that Israel will consider any request from Egyptian side to deploy additional military forces in Sinai in an attempt to retake control over the peninsula territory and weed out a global jihadist infrastructure which emerged there and became more active after Hosni Mubarak’s fall and lack of security on the region.

The Egyptian request is expected to come after the deadly attack which took place this Sunday on the border checkpoint close to Israeli border and left 17 Egyptian policemen and soldiers killed and 7 wounded. It was one of the most violent and deadly attacks Egyptian military forces faced last time. The border military base was attacked by the group of unknown gunmen. The attackers have stolen then Egyptian military vehicle and moved to the Israeli territory, where their car was set on fire by IDF forces. Israeli side claims that 8 terrorists were killed and at least 6 of them were wearing the explosive belts.

The IDF said those attackers were the part of the jihadist network emerging and operating on the territory of Sinai. Those groups consist mostly of local Bedouins and the militants from Gaza, who infiltrate Egypt using the underground tunnels. There are several terrorist groups and cells now hiding on the territory of Sinai preparing for conducting the terror attacks against Egyptians and Israelis as well, according to Israeli officials. It’s also worth mentioning that the new jihadist group named The Soldiers of Sharia was emerged in Sinai just a few days ago and issued a statement in internet calling for implementing the strict Islamic Law throughout Egypt and demanding the withdrawal of all the US peacekeeping forces from Egyptian territory or “they will regret”. There is a version among the others circulating in Egyptian society that last Sunday Attack could be connected to this newly established terrorist group.

IDF soldiers near the Egyptian military vehicle, stolen by
terrorists and set on fire by Israei forces
The situation in Sinai remains very tense and is only worsening, it definitely needs a fast and serious action and cooperation between the both sides, Egypt and Israel as well, as the terrorist attacks are a danger threat to the both neighboring countries. Egypt surely lacks control in Sinai and there is one of the reasons why Egypt was not prepared for such an attack. But according the terms of Camp David peace treaty signed between Egypt and Israel in 1979 the territory of Sinai (especially its central and eastern regions) have to stay demilitarized and Egypt is not permitted to deploy the additional military troops and heavy weapons on that territories. Such a situation doesn’t allow Egypt to maintain the full control on the territory for fighting the terrorists and restoring the peace and security in the region, so the terms of the peace treaty must be reviewed.

Meanwhile Israeli Officials stressed they will consider Egyptian request for deploying more military forces in the region in order to achieve the stability and weed out the jihadist network which is dangerous for the both countries and worsen the relationships between them.

Emergency meeting between Egypt's President Mohamed
Morsi and members of SCAF, following a deadly Sunday
attack in Sinai
There was already the reaction from the Egyptian side, with calling for the amendments in the Camp David peace treaty especially under such critical circumstances. In addition to that Egypt’s Defense Minister and Head of SCAF Hussein Tantawy ordered to finally destroy all the underground tunnels in Sinai connecting Egypt’s Sinai desert with Gaza and used for smuggling weapons and for conducting the terrorist attacks as well. And until now Israel permitted Egypt to deploy about seven additional battalions to Sinai in effort to take active and serious actions in restoring control and stability in the region.

But despite the attack, the common interest of the both countries and Israeli’s willingness to cooperate with Egypt diplomatic officials remain skeptical that it can help to make the relationships between Israel and Egypt’s newly elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsy and his government warmer as Muslim Brotherhood, which Mohamed Morsy represents, is known with its hostile position towards Israel and more close ties with Palestine.