Egyptian Fighter Jets in Sinai? Israel Says It isn't So
The Egyptian military has stationed jet fighter planes at the El Arish airbase in Sinai following the combined terror attack Sunday, Egyptian media reported Monday. Israeli sources deny this.
According to the Egyptian reports, the jets have been stationed in Sinai in order to assist in the effort to chase down the terrorists who carried out the attack.
An official source told the Masrawi website that the "aerial support" is the first to arrive in Sinai since the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979. "Two jet fighters arrived in the early morning hours as part of immediate air support for Sinai, in order to hunt down the terror gangs."
Other reports said helicopter gunships were sent into Sinai to look for the terrorists.
The Egyptian Military Council said that 35 terrorists took part in the attack and that elements in Gaza assisted the attack with "artillery" fire.
Sources in the Israeli military establishment called the reports regarding the entry of Egyptian jet fighters into Sinai "baseless rumors" and denied them. The entry of jet fighters, missiles or heavy armor into Sinai is a breach of the peace accords.
Israel sent a message of condolence to Egypt and to the Egyptian people on the killing of security forces servicemen by terrorists. "This barbaric attack caused the death of Egyptians, and was meant to slay Israelis as well. Moreover, it aimed at shattering the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt," the Israel Foreign Ministry statement said.
"Peace between the two countries has been, and still is, an interest common to both peoples; Israel will continue to act in a spirit of cooperation with Egypt in order to preserve this vital interest and ensure security and stability in the region."