ISRAEL ALLOWS 2 BATTALIONS OF EGYPTIAN TROOPS TO ENTER SINAI

BETHLEHEM, Nov 7 — Israel allowed two infantry battalions of the Egyptian army as well as military helicopters to enter the Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, according to Israeli Army Radio news site “Gali Tzahal.”

The Egyptian request came following a recent attack on the Egyptian army in the area that killed 30 soldiers, which the Egyptian government has blamed on an militant insurgency active across the region.

Since a 1979 treaty that recognized the state of Israel in exchange for the pull-out of Israeli troops from the previously-occupied Sinai Peninsula, Egypt has required Israeli permission to station its troops in the area. It only began doing so after the 2011 Revolution.

The Gali Tzahal website said that the number of Egyptian forces deployed in Sinai did not exceed the number agreed upon, and that they are on missions fighting “terrorist organizations” in Sinai.

The site added, however, that Israel could find itself forced to allow more forces to enter Sinai in order for the Egyptian army to be able to fight these challenges.

The Egyptian army has been fighting off an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula since it overthrew democratically elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against his leadership.

More than 1,400 were killed and tens of thousands detained across Egypt in the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood since last summer, when police forcibly dispersed two protest camps in Cairo’s Rabia al-Adawiya Square following the ouster.

Egyptian armed forces launched large scale military action against militants in the Sinai Peninsula earlier in Sept. 2013, in what officials described as the largest mobilization of force in the area since the 1973 war with Israel.

The military action comes in the wake of rising instability and almost daily attacks in the region.

The authorities have blamed Morsi’s now blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood for the violence, although the group insists it is committed to peaceful protests and has condemned the violence repeatedly

SOURCE: MA’AN