An Egyptian military source rebuffed what he called “the noise that is coming out of the Israeli media” over the deployment of army troops in Sinai beyond the limitations stipulated in the 1979 Camp David Accords.
The source, who spoke to the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper on condition of anonymity, claimed that the complaints voiced in the Israeli press are part of an anti-Egypt propaganda campaign that is orchestrated to intimidate President Mohammed Morsi.
Earlier this week it was reported that Egypt has deployed both anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles near Israel’s border in the Egyptian Sinai, without Israel’s permission. Such equipment is prohibited in Sinai by the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, which stipulates that Egypt can only increase its military presence in the Sinai upon obtaining consent from Israel.
Egypt has launched a crackdown on Sinai terrorism in recent days, in response to the terror attack near the border with Israel last week, in which 16 Egyptian officers were killed.
The operation, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali told Al-Ahram, falls within the scope of Egyptian "sovereignty over Sinai, all of Sinai." The military source told the newspaper that the operation is “well coordinated with both the Americans and Israelis.”
“The fact that contact between both sides has not been made known to the press does not mean it is not happening – actually it goes beyond mere information sharing and includes efforts to coordinate,” the source said.
He added that these meetings are conducted on a daily basis by officers and "at times has included high ranking personnel, including Minister of Defense [Abdel-Fattah] El-Sisi and his assistant General [Mohamed] El-Assar.”
On Tuesday, the Maariv Hebrew-language website reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has demanded that Egypt cease sending tanks into the Sinai without Israel's approval.
A spokesman for the Office of the Prime Minister would not comment on the report when contacted by Arutz Sheva.
An Israeli government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to The New York Times on Tuesday that Israel is “troubled” by the entry of Egyptian tanks into the northern Sinai Peninsula without coordination with Israel and has asked Egypt to withdraw them.
The Israeli request was conveyed within the last few days, the official said, adding that it was likely that the Obama administration had made a similar approach to Cairo.