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.

Israeli defense 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 Israel.

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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.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt

“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 situation.

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