Egypt deploys troops along Gaza border
LAST UPDATED: 01/31/2011 01:59
With Israeli permission, Egypt sets up troops to avoid infiltrations by terrorists, Hamas across Gazan border.
An Egyptian border policeman stands guard in Rafah Photo: AP
Egyptian security forces beefed up their presence along the border with the Gaza
Strip on Sunday in a bid to stop Hamas operatives from crossing between the two
countries amid concerns that terror groups will take advantage of the anarchy in
Egypt to launch attacks against that country and Israel.
officials said the troop increase was undertaken in coordination with the
Defense Ministry because, under the peace treaty between the countries, Egypt is
not allowed to deploy large numbers of soldiers along its border with
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The deployment came amid reports that Egypt had also ordered
Hamas to cease all its tunnel activities along the Philadelphi Corridor. On
Sunday, a number of Hamas operatives, including the group’s commander for Khan
Younis, escaped from a jail in Egypt and were believed to be making their way
back to the Gaza Strip.
“The Egyptians are cracking down on Hamas,” a
senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday.
Throughout the day, the
IDF and Defense Ministry held consultations regarding the continued unrest in
Egypt. Senior Israeli politicians and officials were in touch with Egyptian government
officials, and contact was established directly between Israel and Egypt’s new
vice president, Omar Suleiman.
Israel’s concern is that the Muslim
Brotherhood will use the ongoing demonstrations to garner public support and
eventually take over Egypt. Israeli officials who were in touch with Egyptians
on Sunday expressed confidence in Suleiman’s ability to take control of the
military and prevent a regime change.
“This is the end of Hosni Mubarak’s
presidency, but the situation could be brought under control by Suleiman,” the
senior defense official said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with US
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Sunday to discuss the
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