Egyptian security forces secure an area in Al-Kharuba village
Egyptian security forces secure an area in Al-Kharuba village on the Sinai peninsula on August 19. Israel has accepted the deployment of additional Egyptian military forces to boost security in the Sinai peninsula, a senior Israeli official told AFP on Friday. © - AFP/File
Egyptian security forces secure an area in Al-Kharuba village
AFP
Last updated: August 27, 2011

Israel okays more Egyptian forces in Sinai

Israel has accepted the deployment of additional Egyptian military forces to boost security in the Sinai peninsula, a senior Israeli official told AFP on Friday.

The official, on condition of anonymity, confirmed an article in Britain's Economist magazine in which Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Israel had agreed to the increase.

The magazine said Egypt planned to deploy helicopters, armoured vehicles and thousands of extra forces in the Sinai, but Israel opposed additional tanks in the region.

The decision follows August 18 attacks by gunmen who infiltrated southern Israel from the Sinai for a series of shootings on buses and cars on a road running along the Egyptian border.

Eight Israelis were killed and at least 26 wounded in the attacks.

During the hunt for the killers, five Egyptian policemen were killed apparently by Israeli fire during pursuit of the assailants, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Egypt and Israel.

Barak said in The Economist that the decision to accept the additional Egyptian deployment had been approved by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"All this information is correct," the senior Israeli official told AFP, referring to the magazine article.

The number of Egyptian forces in the Sinai are limited under the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty. Egypt's military, which took power after president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in February, has said it would honour the treaty.

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