Report: Israel Intensifies Security Along Border with Egypt
Israel has intensified security on its border with Egypt after verdicts were issued in the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak, security sources in the Sinai Peninsula told the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper on Sunday.
Eyewitnesses at the border area told the newspaper that the presence of Israeli armored vehicles and border patrols has increased markedly over the past two days due to fears of terrorism.
The sources denied that Egypt had deployed forces on its borders and said everything was normal.
On Saturday, Mubarak and his longtime interior minister, Habib al-Adly, were given life sentences for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising last year which brought about Mubarak’s ouster.
The 84-year-old Mubarak reportedly suffered a heart attack upon his arrival at Tora Prison. Medical staff at the prison treated Mubarak and stabilized his condition.
A security official said Mubarak refused to disembark from the helicopter that brought him to the prison and broke into tears upon his arrival.
At the same time, the court cleared six high-ranking Interior Ministry officials of the same charges, and acquitted Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal of financial corruption charges.
Egypt’s chief prosecutor has appealed the life sentence handed down to Mubarak, saying he should be sentenced to death for the killing of more than 800 demonstrators last year.
The appeal automatically included asking for a new verdict for Mubarak’s two sons and six security officers who were acquitted.
The life sentence handed triggered mass protests by tens of thousands of Egyptians who wanted nothing less than the death penalty.
The verdict played into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi is campaigning against a former Mubarak aide, Ahmed Shafiq.
"The public prosecutor did not carry out its full duty in gathering adequate evidence to convict the accused for killing protesters," said Morsi’s campaign spokesman.
Shafiq, meanwhile, hit hard at the Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday, warning that an Islamist victory will lead to terrorizing Christians and accusing the Brotherhood of trying to make “Palestine" the central issue for Egyptians.
In an unusually sharp attack, Shafiq accused the Brotherhood of acting as if “Palestine is the capital of Egypt.” He said that Egyptians face several domestic issues that should not be overshadowed by the status of the Palestinian Authority, whose Hamas faction was founded by the Brotherhood.
“Don’t let the Muslim Brotherhood control Egypt and take it to the dark ages," Shafiq declared. "I represent a secular state... the Brotherhood represents a sectarian state. I represent progress and light, they represent backwardness and darkness.”
Thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Egypt on Friday, to demand that Shafiq be disqualified from the presidential runoff.
Shafiq has said that he would be ready to visit Israel, if elected, “provided it gives something to show it has good intentions.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, which also clinched the majority in recent parliamentary elections, has threatened to cancel the peace treaty with Israel by putting the issue up for a referendum and letting Egyptians decide.