The Egyptian army on Wednesday prevented a local radical group from defacing an IDF memorial in the Sinai Peninsula.
According to a report on Army Radio, the military deployed forces in armored vehicles near the memorial, to prevent the radicals from reaching it.
Earlier on Wednesday, the group, which calls itself ‘The Sinai Revolutionaries’, threatened to deface the memorial and paint it with the colors of the Egyptian flag. The memorial was set up about 40 years ago in memory of ten IDF soldiers killed in a helicopter crash on northwestern Sinai, near the site of the former Yamit settlements, which Israel abandoned in 1979 after withdrawing from Sinai.
According to the Camp David Accords, Egypt is committed to preserving and protecting the memorial.
Since Wednesday was the Memorial Day for fallen IDF soldiers in Israel, the members of the Egyptian group said it was a most appropriate day to rid the peninsula of the last “presence of foul Zionism.”
“We have tried to destroy this memorial in the past, but the army protected it and stopped us,” the group’s leader said in an interview. “Now we have decided to paint it with the colors of the Egyptian flag. Egypt is an Islamic and Arab state, not a Zionist state. We do not have any agreements with them, and there is no peace.”
The memorial was designed by Mordechai Kafri, who designed some 50 memorials for IDF soldiers and Israeli personalities. Israel considered moving the memorial when the Camp David Accords were signed, but it was decided to leave it in place. Egypt committed to preserve the site, and according to the Israel-Egypt peace treaties, Israelis have the right to visit the site.
Since the revolution in Egypt which ousted the Mubarak regime last year, there have been concerns for the peace treaty with Israel, particularly with the rise of Islamists to power in recent elections.
The extremist Muslim Brotherhood, which clinched the majority in the elections, has threatened to cancel the peace treaty with Israel by putting the issue up for a referendum and letting Egyptians decide.