Egypt Says Sinai Campaign Coordinated With Israel
Egypt said Saturday that it has coordinated an ongoing security sweep of the Sinai Peninsula with Israel, and that the campaign does not violate the two nations’ peace treaty.
The remarks appeared to be in response to U.S. and Israeli concerns about the operation, the largest deployment of troops and heavy military equipment in the Sinai since Egypt and Israel signed the accord in 1979.
In the military’s first news conference since the operation began, Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali also said Egyptian troops have killed 32 “criminals” and arrested 38 who included foreign drug traffickers.
The military launched the sweep following an Aug. 5 militant attack near the border with Israel and Gaza that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, the deadliest internal attack on Egyptian troops in recent history. The army has suggested that it is targeting not just Islamist radicals blamed for the attack but also smugglers and others in the lawless desert region.
Ali said Egypt consults with Israel on its security policies in the Sinai in line with its treaty obligations.