Egypt trying to stop Bedouin control of the northern Sinai peninsula and put an end to anarchy that has taken hold of the region since Mubarak’s fall; top Israeli defense official in Cairo for talks.
By Anshel Pfeffer and DPA
Egypt, in coordination with Israel, has deployed its military in the northern Sinai Peninsula in order to gain control over the anarchy that has taken hold of the region, a senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday.
Egyptian troops escorted by tanks entered the Sinai Peninsula region on Friday in an attempt to put an end to the anarchy that has erupted there since the fall of the Mubarak regime.
The aim of the operation was to halt Bedouin control of the northern Sinai area, which allows for the transfer of weapons to the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels.
The Israeli government approved the operation, which places Egyptian infantry, armored vehicles, and tanks in Sinai in contravention with the 1978 Camp David Accords.
This is the second time Israel has approved an Egyptian operation in Sinai in recent months.
Meanwhile, foreign media reported Sunday that a senior Israeli defense official came to Cairo on Saturday to discuss the situation on the Egypt-Israel border, as well as the abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit held by Hamas in Gaza.
In July, five people were killed when dozens of gunmen tried to storm a police station in al-Arish. The gunmen and hundreds more, reported to be Islamists, were wearing black and carrying black flags reading “There is no God but God.”
Egypt’s military has detained 15 people suspected of involvement in clashes between gunmen and police in northern Sinai, including 10 Palestinians.
Following the attack flyers were distributed in the peninsula, threatening more attacks on police. The flyers were signed “Al-Qaida in Sinai.”